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COVID-19-free public health corridors promoted to keep air cargo going

The ICAO PHC concept is COVID-19 specific and has been developed using a risk-based approach, taking safety management principles into account.

PHC concept to protect air cargo

ICAO has encouraged the establishment of special COVID-19-free Public Health Corridors (PHC) to address the varied country-to-country border restrictions in place due to COVID-19 measures.

The UN aviation agency underscored to national governments that current disruptions to international air movements have “severely disrupted the global aviation network, including the transport of essential items such as medical supplies and food.”

To keep supply lines open, the ICAO Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) has recommended that PHCs be established where COVID-19-free or ‘clean’ crew, aircraft, airport facilities and passengers can continue to undertake their urgently-needed work.

Guidance relating specifically to flight crew conducting essential cargo operations is appended to the new ICAO bulletin.

Further PHC provisions in aid of humanitarian, repatriation and scheduled passenger operations will be developed within the scope of ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART).

The ICAO PHC concept is COVID-19 specific and has been developed using a risk-based approach, taking relevant safety management principles and all relevant World Health Organization (WHO) and aviation sector pandemic guidance into account.

Given the lack of a vaccine and definitive treatment for COVID-19, and persisting limitations on testing and resources, the ICAO bulletin notes that while the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel cannot yet be completely eliminated, the risk to crew and passengers can be significantly mitigated by PHC measures.