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Singapore and UK commence trials to improve public health safety for air crew

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Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have initiated a series of trials to test the crew module of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) ‘Take-off’ guidelines. These guidelines aim to reduce public health risks to air passengers, aircrew, airport staff while strengthening confidence among the traveling public.

ICAO, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the United Kingdom Civil Aviation AuthorityChangi Airport, Heathrow AirportBritish Airways, and Singapore Airlines are participating in these trials. For a start, the trials will test the measures for aircrew throughout the travel journey between Singapore and the UK. The measures include maintaining safe distancing, meeting all relevant customs, immigration and health requirements, observing good hand hygiene, and reduced interactions with passengers. During the layover at the respective countries, the aircrew is to remain in their crew accommodation at all times.

The measures are based on the ICAO CART guidelines and are customized to each State’s requirements. These measures have been integrated into the regional implementation planning in support of the Public Health Corridors now being launched by ICAO. Data will be collected by the participating parties for all phases of the flights. The data will be analyzed and reviewed by the three partners to strengthen the guidelines where necessary.

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Mr. Kevin Shum, Director-General of the CAAS said, “Singapore is pleased to participate in the trials. The ICAO CART ‘Take-off’ guidance document offers a set of guidelines for coordinating the international aviation community’s steps towards recovery and to build up public confidence for international travel. These guidelines take a flexible and pragmatic approach by focusing on what makes operational and economic sense, bearing in mind that different countries would face different conditions, risks, and risk tolerance. The trials will help validate and improve the processes, where needed.”

Mr. Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority said, “Aviation is an inherently international industry, so it is critical that we collaborate closely with our partners around the world to address the challenges presented by COVID-19. The UK CAA is therefore very pleased to be contributing to these trials. Ultimately, this work should help keep aviation as safe as possible for both passengers and crew throughout the current pandemic.”

Dr. Fang Liu, ICAO Secretary-General emphasized that “the CART’s work and deliverables have been developed in league with the ICAO Council Member States, our colleagues at the WHO, many other international organizations, and our partners in the aviation industry. They’ve been designed to enable the Member States and Industry to implement harmonized risk mitigation measures in full accordance with the latest medical and traveler health advice available. ICAO’s Public Health Corridors are consistent with the CART recommendations and represents the implementation mechanism of the CART “Take-off” criteria. We want to thank the aviation authorities in Singapore and the United Kingdom for their support and involvement in this trial and their continuous contributions to ICAO.”

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