The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a joint document defining measures to assure the health safety of air travellers and aviation personnel once airlines resume regular flight schedules following the severe disruption caused by COVID-19.
The guidelines place paramount importance on health safety at every stage of the end-to-end passenger journey. Recognising that airports, airlines and aircraft are different, it takes a pragmatic approach in implementation – highlighting and giving guidance on the ways in which individual locations and situations can best be re-engineered to meet the new health safety standards.
Some overarching principles apply throughout: observe physical distancing wherever possible, wear a medical face mask to protect other passengers, and practice scrupulous and frequent hand hygiene. Air passengers and the general population have to be assured that filtered air on aeroplanes is safer and cleaner than many of us breathe on the ground.
EASA and ECDC were charged by the European Commission with drawing up the guidelines, as part of a wider package of measures to prompt the safe restoration of transport services and connectivity following the outbreak of COVID-19.
“The safety of passengers and crews has always been paramount in aviation,” European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said. “Passengers have to have confidence that taking to the skies again in a confined space with other people poses the minimum possible risk to their health. We relied on our specialists from EASA and ECDC to define a set of concrete measures for the safe resumption of air travel within the EU. The protocol released today will reassure passengers that it is safe for them to fly and so help the industry recover from the effects of this pandemic.”