ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) is promoting the establishment of special COVID-19-free Public Health Corridors (PHCs) to support the movement of air cargo by addressing border restrictions between countries in times of pandemic.

In an attachment and appendix to its latest bulletin issued under the authority of ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu, 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.”

The ICAO Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation recommended that PHCs be established for COVID-19-free or ‘clean’ crew, aircraft, airport facilities and passengers.

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

Furthermore, ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) in collaboration with aviation industry and public health authorities will develop PHC provisions for of humanitarian, repatriation, and scheduled passenger operations.

The ICAO PHC concept is specific to COVID-19 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.

The PHC, which was recently introduced by ICAO in a recent webinar will be regularly reviewed and updated based on the latest COVID-19 data available.

The ICAO notes that while the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel cannot be completely eliminated, the risk to crew and passengers can be significantly mitigated by PHC measures.