IATA issues guidelines for resumption of international travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued a series of recommendations which they say could help the aviation sector as it plans to re-start passenger flights amid the COVID-19 crisis.

IATA has published “Biosecurity for Air Transport: A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation”, which outlines the organisation’s proposal for a layering of temporary biosecurity measures.


The Roadmap aims to provide the confidence that governments will need to enable the re-opening of borders to passenger travel, and the confidence that travelers will need to return to flying.


It includes everything from temperature screening at entry points, maintaining physical distancing, sanitization of touch objects, and avail hygiene products on board and at airports.


Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General said in a statement that there is generally no single measure that will reduce risk and enable a safe re-start of flying.

“But a layering measures that are globally implemented and mutually recognized by governments can achieve the needed outcome,” he said, describing COVID-19 as 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,” he added.

It describes its latest roadmap as the “industry’s high-level thinking on safely re-starting aviation.”

“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,” de Juniac noted.

Proposed guidelines

Pre-flight, IATA foresees the need for governments to collect passenger data in advance of travel, including health information, which should be accomplished using well-tested channels such as those used for eVisa or electronic travel authorization programmes.

At the departure airport, IATA suggests following protective measures:

Access to the terminal building should be restricted to airport or 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 building

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 luggage limitations

Cleaning and sanitization of high touch areas in line with local regulations. This includes wide availability of hand sanitizer.

In- flight

Face coverings required for all passengers and non-surgical masks for crew

Simplified cabin service and pre-packaged catering to reduce interaction between passengers and crew

Reduced 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 authorities

Automated procedures for customs and border control including use of mobile applications and biometric technologies (which have already proven track record by some governments)

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 transmission.


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