Montreal, 14 March 2022 – The ICAO Council has adopted a new set of international Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) addressing national civil aviation responses to public health emergencies, as well as safety and security. inspection of travel documents and related health documents.
The new Amendment 29 to Annex 9 – Facilitation of the Chicago Convention also addresses a wider range of facilitation provisions relating to the conduct of relief and repatriation flights, air travelers with disabilities, assistance to victims of aviation accidents and their families, and the use of aviation for human trafficking. The new SARPs will come into force in November 2022.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of passenger and cargo facilitation to ensure safe and efficient international aviation, especially in these challenging times,” explained the ICAO Council President, Salvatore Sciacchitano.
“Through the adoption of these new amendments, the States of the ICAO Council have now filled in some important gaps that had been identified by an ad hoc working group it established, significantly strengthened Annex 9 in the process and made its framework much more suited to the purpose of leading the world in harmonizing all of the issues that this amendment has addressed.”
New public health standards adopted include a requirement for countries to employ a tiered risk management approach when applying public health measures in the aviation sector to prevent or mitigate the spread of a communicable disease.
It is further recommended that States issue digital vaccination certificates in accordance with WHO recommendations and that the certificates be interoperable with the specifications of the ICAO Technical Report on the Visible Digital Seal for Unconstrained Environments (VDS- CN).
The new public health standards also update requirements for disinsection and disinfection of aircraft and facilities, emergency medical assistance and establishment of public health plans at airports to prepare, respond and managing communicable disease outbreaks.
Regarding the inspection of digital health documents, Amendment 29 now requires countries to help airlines assess health evidence to help deter fraud and abuse. It is also recommended that countries encourage airlines to put in place procedures to verify and assess standardized health documents related to air travel. It further recommends that governments consider automating the inspection of health-related documents or using non-contact procedures.
With respect to States’ obligations to provide adequate care and information to aircraft accident victims and their families, the amendment now elevates former ICAO Recommended Practice 8.46, which requires countries to establish appropriate legislation and policies in this area as an international standard. .
The international regulatory framework on the facilitation of transport for persons with disabilities has been amended such that five previous recommended practices have now been established as standards, including provisions relating to the accessibility of information relating to flight services for the hearing impaired and the visually impaired, the right to assistance for disabled travelers and the establishment of parking and drop-off areas reserved for disabled people in terminals.
Finally, the Annex 9 Recommended Practice regarding the establishment of measures to ensure that governmental procedures are in place to combat human trafficking, now encourages States to achieve this capacity on the basis of a strategy including clear reporting systems and relevant contact points for airports. and aircraft operators