A second edition of Take-off: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis by ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) has been welcomed by IATA.

The first edition of the Take-off guidance was issued in June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provided the groundwork for the multi-layered biosafety measures already implemented by the industry, such as physical distancing, the wearing of face coverings, routine sanitation and disinfection, health screening, contact tracing, and passenger health declaration forms.

The following three recommendations are being added to the Take-off guidance:

  1. COVID-19 Testing With some countries considering the use of testing and with the availability of improved COVID-19 testing technology, there is a need for guidance material to facilitate harmonization. This is being developed in a Manual on Testing and Cross Border Risk Management Measures and will be a key enabler of IATA’s call for systematic testing before departure for international travelers.
  2. Public Health Corridors or Travel Bubbles ICAO is asking nations which are considering travel bubbles to actively share information with each other to implement these in a harmonized manner.
  3. Extending regulatory alleviations till 31 March 2021 COVID-19 has forced the industry to temporarily adapt certain regulatory processes, especially those related to staff qualification and training. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the Take-off guidance recommends that such alleviations should not be extended beyond 31 March 2021. It is essential that governments consider flight crew to be key workers.

“The public should be reassured,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “The Take-off guidance will keep flying safe through this pandemic with recommendations that combine the best advice of public health authorities with the technical expertise of aviation regulators and operators. By addressing the need for harmonized COVID-19 testing requirements as part of a multi-layered approach, CART is also contributing to building confidence among governments to manage the risks of COVID-19 importation while removing barriers to travel such as quarantines. The aim is to safely reconnect the world and these recommendations are moving us forward.”