Advisory Bulletins

Long-term management of COVID-19 and building resilience for future public health emergencies in the aviation sector

June 20, 2023

Montreal, 20 June 2023 – ACI World would like to bring the ICAO State Letter entitled Long-term management of COVID-19 and building resilience for future public health emergencies in the aviation sector to your attention since it has very direct implications for all our airport members. ICAO routinely communicates with States on technical matters, but the attached letter goes beyond this.

ICAO wrote to its Member States on 12 June to inform them that on 5 May the World Health Organization (WHO) had effectively declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and made recommendations accordingly. Namely, that they should continue to implement WHO recommendations and follow its guidance material; coordinate with the relevant national authorities to open borders; lift COVID-19 international travel related health measures; and support the establishment of a long-term strategy for COVID-19 management. The details of the measures are in the letter.

There are two important implications for airports: that there will be continuing oversight of public health and safety measures at airports; and, that ICAO will continue to develop and promote guidance for the entire aviation sector. ACI is able to support all members on both of these, the first by helping airports meet the expected international requirements, and also by continuing to engage with ICAO on the future requirements to ensure that measures to increase resilience are fit for purpose.

Members will recall that at the height of the pandemic, ACI developed the Airport Health Accreditation program, which was supported by ICAO and helped airports align measures with best practices and international recommendations as well reassure passengers that they met the highest possible health standards as required by regulators. ACI World has subsequently developed this program further with an eye to future resiliency by introducing the Public Health and Safety Readiness Accreditation program. More information on this program can be found here.

For the second part, ACI World, and in particular the World Facilitation and Services Standing Committee, will work with the ICAO Secretariat and States to enhance capacity building, share best practices, and ensure implementation of the lessons learned from the pandemic with the aim of strengthening the aviation industry’s resilience to future public health emergencies. 

ACI and its airport members continue to support air connectivity and the removal of international health measures related to COVID-19 in an appropriate manner, ensuring that this is done in consultation with aviation stakeholders, national public health authorities, and based on local risk assessments.

About ACI

Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, is a federated organization comprising ACI World, ACI Africa, ACI Asia-Pacific, ACI EUROPE, ACI Latin America and the Caribbean, and ACI North America. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2023, ACI serves 712 members, operating 1925 airports in 171 countries.