IATA has published a roadmap which outlines the
association’s ideas on how best to approach biosecurity measures
at airports as COVID19 travel restrictions are lifted.
Biosecurity for Air Transport: A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation
recommends that governments layer their approach to biosecurity,
collecting passenger data and required health certifications in
advance, just as they would with an eVisa or other electronic
travel authorization programmes.
“There is no single measure that will reduce risk
and enable a safe re-start of flying,” said Alexandre de Juniac,
IATA’s Director General and CEO. “But a layering measures that are
globally implemented and mutually recognized by governments can
achieve the needed outcome. This is the greatest crisis that
aviation has ever faced. A layered approach has worked with safety
and with security. It’s the way forward for biosecurity as well.”
At the departure airport, IATA foresees several layers of
- Access to the terminal building
should be restricted to airport / airline workers and travelers
(with exceptions being made for those accompanying passengers with
disabilities or unaccompanied minors).
- Temperature screening
by trained government staff at entry points to the terminal
- Physical distancing through all passenger processes,
including queue management.
- Use of face coverings for
passengers and masks for staff in line with local regulations.
- Self-service options for check-in used by passengers as much as
possible to reduce contact points and queues. This includes remote
check-in (electronic / home printed boarding passes), automated
bag drops (with home printed bag tags) and self-boarding.
Boarding should be made as efficient as possible with re-designed
gate areas, congestion-reducing boarding priorities, and hand
- Cleaning and sanitization of high touch
areas in line with local regulations. This includes wide
availability of hand sanitizers.
coverings required for all passengers and non-surgical masks for
- Simplified cabin service and pre-packaged catering to
reduce interaction between passengers and crew.
congregation of passengers in the cabin, for example by
prohibiting queues for washrooms.
- Enhanced and more frequent
deep cleaning of the cabin.
At the arrival airport:
Temperature screening by trained government staff if required by
- Automated procedures for customs and border
control including use of mobile applications and biometric
technologies (which have already proven tack record by some
- Accelerated processing and baggage reclaim to
enable social distancing by reducing congestion and queuing.
Health declarations and robust contact tracing are expected to be
undertaken by governments to reduce the risk of imported chains of
IATA has stressed that these measures should
be temporary, regularly reviewed and replaced when more efficient
options are identified or removed should they become unnecessary.
Specifically, IATA expressed hope in two areas which could be
‘game-changers’ in facilitating efficient travel until a vaccine
COVID19 testing: IATA supports testing when
scalable, accurate and fast results are available. Testing at the
start of the travel process would create a ‘sterile’ travel
environment that would reassure travelers and governments.
Immunity passports: IATA would support the development of immunity
passports to segregate no-risk travelers, at a time when these are
backed by medical science and recognized by governments.
IATA reiterated its opposition to social distancing on board
aircraft and quarantine measures on arrival:
- IATA says that quarantine measures are obviated
by the combination
of temperature checks and contract tracing. Temperature screening
reduces the risk of symptomatic passengers from traveling, while
health declarations and contact tracing after arrival reduce the
risk of imported cases developing into local chains of
- The association also believes that social distancing on board (leaving the middle
seat open) is obviated by the wearing of face coverings by all on
board on top of transmission reducing characteristics of the cabin
(everybody is front facing, air flow is from ceiling to floor,
seats provide a barrier to forward/aft transmission, and air
filtration systems that operate to hospital operating theatre
“The roadmap is the
industry’s high-level thinking on safely re-starting aviation,”
said de Juniac. “Timing is critical. Governments understand the importance of
aviation to the social and economic recovery of their countries
and many are planning a phased re-opening of borders in the coming
months. We have a short time to reach agreement on the initial
standards to support safely reconnecting the world and to firmly
establish that global standards are essential to success. This
will change as technology and medical science advances. The vital
element is coordination. If we don’t take these first steps in a
harmonized way, we will spend many painful years recovering ground
that should not have been lost.”