• Independent and voluntary scheme, led in partnership with Public Health experts, to provide assurance on the health measures taken by UK airlines and airports in line with UK and international guidance.
    • Follows successful pilot programme with UK industry throughout summer and autumn.  
    • Designed to increase consumer confidence in the COVID-security of air travel and encourage international standardisation.

    The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will today launch its independent and voluntary assurance scheme of the measures that UK airlines and airports have put in place to provide COVID-security for passengers.

    This development follows the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce’s report, which recommended a system of assurance of air travel to evidence the industry’s compliance with international guidance provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This guidance closely aligns with the UK government’s own aviation COVID-19 guidance for air passengers and for operators, which was published earlier this year.

    The assurance scheme will be led by the CAA and will be conducted by a team consisting of a CAA inspector and medical professional, as well as a Public Health expert. Together, this team will assess whether the measures taken by airlines and airports meet the requirements set out in the UK and ICAO guidance.

    Over the summer, the CAA worked with British Airways, London Heathrow Airport, and East Midlands Airport to support the development of the ICAO guidance and to pilot the assurance scheme.  

    The CAA and public health assessment will look at compliance with guidance on general hygiene, masks and face coverings, health screening and declarations, the mental health and well-being of employees and passengers, as well as specific steps for passengers with reduced mobility.

    Ben Alcott, International Director at the Civil Aviation Authority said: “UK airlines and airports have already put in place significant measures to protect passengers during the pandemic. This new assurance scheme will recognise the efforts of the industry, as well as play a critical role in developing an international approach to COVID-security in aviation. It should also give consumers greater confidence that the right steps have been taken to make their flights and holidays COVID safe.

    “I would like to thank British Airways, Heathrow Airport and East Midlands Airport for all their support in developing and testing the scheme and look forward to working with other airlines and airports as we roll the scheme out.”

    Notes

    • The Global Travel Taskforce’s recommendations for the CAA to deliver a system of assurance of air travel to evidence the industry’s compliance with international guidance follows a request from ICAO that each State confirm implementation of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Team (CART) recommendations. Recommendation 4 of the CART is that States assure implementation of the ICAO ‘Take-Off’ recommendations. In June 2020, the UK government published its own aviation COVID-19 guidance for air passengers and for operators, which closely aligns with the ICAO standard.
    • The assurance scheme is voluntary and if an airline or airport does not choose to participate in the scheme it does not mean that they are not COVID-secure.