First companies sign up to EASA program to monitor COVID-19 operations in practice

Athens International Airport ©AirTeamImages

The first aviation companies have signed up to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) charter for the return to normal operations under COVID-19, pledging to work with their national authorities to put measures in place to support health safety – and to report back on their experiences to help other organisations with their real-life implementations.  

Ten companies from across Europe declared they would abide by the guidelines developed by EASA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on request of the European Commission. The COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol is based on current scientific information about the spread of COVID-19 and the expert opinion of the two agencies, and is designed to ensure safe travel for passengers and air personnel.

The first mover group comprises seven airport operators including: AENA, Athens International Airport S.A., Brussels Airport Company, Fraport AG, S.E.A. Aeroporti di Milano, Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur and Paris CDG Airport and three airlines – Aegean Airlines, easyJet and Wizz Air.

The challenge now for these companies is to determine exactly how to implement the guidelines in their facilities and services so as to achieve the best possible compliance despite the operational constraints. 

Primary recommendations of the guidelines are to observe physical distancing wherever possible, to wear a medical face mask throughout the journey and to practice scrupulous and frequent hand hygiene.

Passengers themselves are expected to take personal responsibility. For example, passengers who have COVID-19-compatible symptoms (fever, cough, sudden loss of smell, shortness of breath) or who are aware that they have come in contact with a COVID-19 case should not even travel to the airport.

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