COVID-19 and Aviation: Framework for Recovery
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government issued guidance to airports and airlines on how to minimize public health risks without compromising aviation security while preparing for an increase in travel volume. The new report published jointly by the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services proposes a risk-based approach in addressing challenges of reducing threat of COVID-19. Specifically, this document identifies “measures that airport and airlines should implement across all operations and all phases of travel to, from, and within the United States[.]”
In particular, the guidance provides a set of measures aimed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and promote healthy travel, including the following items:
- Educate and communicate with passengers and employees.
- Require appropriate face coverings.
- Promote social distancing to the extent possible.
- Enhance cleaning and disinfection procedures.
- Conduct health assessment for passengers and employees.
- Collect passenger contact information for public health response purposes.
- Protect employees and separate passengers and crew.
- Minimize in-person interaction touch points and shared objects, documents and surfaces.
- Report daily status of public health risk mitigation efforts among stakeholders.
- Enhance airport security checkpoint operations.
- Utilize government technology programs.
Furthermore, the guidance emphasizes the key principles that shape the U.S. framework for risk mitigation in the aviation sector. These principles include steadfast focus on aviation safety and security, promotion of a shared interest in public health, and recognition of aviation as a critical driver of economic recovery. Additionally, the document highlights future areas of research and evaluation for public health risk mitigation, as well as implementation challenges specific to international travel.