ICAO backs program for consistent airport health protocols

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The new Istanbul Airport has become the first to be accredited through the new health and safety protocols program.
The new Istanbul Airport has become the first to be accredited through the new health and safety protocols program. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

A newly developed health accreditation program for airports has won the backing of the United Nation's civil-aviation arm.

That group, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), has endorsed the Airport Health Accreditation program, which the global trade group Airports Council International (ACI) inaugurated last week.

With the program, the ACI is seeking to set consistent global standards for airport health measures during the Covid-19 pandemic in an effort to assure the public that the flying journey is safe. The ACI's North American chapter is called ACI-NA.

The program deals with protocols relating to cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing, staff protection, passenger communications, passenger facilities and airports' physical layout. Standards have been developed in accordance with recommendations put forward in June by the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force. The program, the ACI said, is open to all ACI member airports. Last week, Istanbul airport became the first in the world to be accredited through the program.

"A harmonized approach to health is key not only to the recovery of civil aviation but also to 'building back better,' which is crucially important to ensuring the future resilience of the aviation network," said ICAO Council president Salvatore Sciacchitano.

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