Airport Implementation

7 July 2020

This page provides airports with the key points from the EASA/ ECDC Passenger Health Protocol to assist with your practical implementation of these guidelines. This is very much a team effort to help the survival of our industry so work together with us to create an atmosphere that inspires confidence in passengers and staff.    

  • Read this page to help understand the things airports can do to implement the protocol.
  • Visit the page on the Passenger Journey to learn more about the different health risks and innovative mitigations that different airports and airlines are already putting in place.
  • If you are implementing something you think others should know about then email us at safetypromotion@easa.europa.eu so we can add it to the page.  

Main messages for the Passenger Health Protocol

The main goal of the Passenger Health Protocol is to create a positive atmosphere that makes passengers and staff feel safe. Help people fly with confidence by focusing on these key points:

  • Limit access to airports only to essential people.
  • Discourage symptomatic people from coming to the airport.
  • Minimise contact between individuals and Ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m).
  • Wear masks and make use of physical barriers.
  • Provide protective equipment for staff and crew.
  • Maintain good cleanliness and hand hygiene.
  • Plan and coordinate all our activities.
  • Take a flexible, risk management approach.

Key objectives

  • To ensure passengers arriving at the airport are aware of, and adhere to, the preventive measures in place so that there is a safe and healthy environment for travellers, crew members and staff.
  • To reduce the chances that a passenger with COVID-19 compatible symptoms arrives at the airport or boards an aircraft.
  • To reduce the residual risk of transmission of the virus from potentially asymptomatic contagious passengers.
  • To reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19 within an aircraft if there is an asymptomatic passenger on board.
  • To reduce the risk of staff being infected.
  • To avoid duplication of procedures.

General tasks for airports

  • Health Promotion Material:  Make health promotion materials widely available before the flight and at the airport that explain the requirements for personal protective equipment, hygiene measures, physical distancing (at least 1.5 m) and minimizing contact (Websites, posters, signs, announcements etc). You can find the main passenger health messages on the passenger health page
  • Risk-Based Approach:  Preventive measures should be implemented in a way that considers both the actual  risk factors and the practical need for mitigation measures in different circumstances, such as, for example, between groups of passengers travelling together and not  requiring physical distancing in between themselves.
  • Mask and Waste Disposal:  Ensure the safe and hygenic disposal of face masks and other waste.  

Reduce the risk of a person with COVID-19 coming to the airport

  • Travel Restrictions:  Use promotional material to inform passengers of that any passenger that may have COVID-19 symptoms before arriving at the departure airport. Such passengers should be encouraged not to come to the airport.
  • Airport Access for Passengers Only:  Inform passengers that access to airport premises should be limited to passengers only. Accompanying persons should only access the airport where they are providing assistance to Persons with Reduced Mobility or unaccompanied minors.
  • Staff Members with Symptoms:  Encourage all staff members not to come to the airport if they have COVID-19  symptoms.

Reduce the risk of a person with COVID-19 boarding an aircraft

  • Thermal Screening:  If national policy recommends implementing thermal screening (temperature checks) due to national response plan regulations then the points provided in the guide should be considered during the implementation.

Airport cleaning and disinfection

  • Cleaning:  Enhance cleaning activities both in depth and frequency.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection Procedures:  Put procedures in place to ensure that the cleaning and disinfection is done in a consistent manner and following ECDC guidance. The procedure should be updated in terms of process, schedule and products, when new information becomes available. Cleaning staff should be made aware of the updates to ensure the updated procedure is adhered to.
  • Surfaces:  Regular cleaning of surfaces should be performed using standard detergents with particular care of frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, bannister rails, buttons, etc.).
  • Screening Trays:  Studies have shown that the plastic security screening trays are frequently contaminated with respiratory viruses , therefore cleaning of these should be intensified and hand-disinfectant placed at the exit of the security locations to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Performing Cleaning:  Cleaning activities should be performed in such a way as not to aerosolise the particles that have already set on the various surfaces (e.g. avoiding air blowing procedures, use of vacuum cleaners etc.).
  • Ventilation:  Proper air ventilation should be ensured, avoiding air recirculation and favouring when possible the use of fresh air in accordance with international guidance for ventilation of indoor public spaces.
  • Toilets and Air Conditioning Systems:  Enhanced cleaning and maintenance should also include toilets and the air conditioning system, including the employment of air filters and increasing the frequency of the filter replacement.
  • Interview Booths:  Cleaning of passenger interview booths should be performed after each use.

Reduce contact between staff and passengers within the airport

  • Protective Screens:  Wherever staff members interact with passengers from a fixed location (e.g. check-in, ticketing, passport control and information counters) protective screens should be installed so as to allow the handover of the required documents but provide protection to the staff member from respiratory droplets.
  • Reducing Check-In Contact:  Airport operators should put in place measures to assist passengers using self check-in procedures and minimise the amount of hand luggage taken into the cabin to help speed up boarding and disembarking procedure and to reduce the movements and potential contamination in the cabin.

Reduce risks at the departure airport

  • Use of Airport Facilities:  Passengers should be advised to make use of airport facilities and services in line with national provisions on similar services outside of the airport.
  • Physical Distancing:  Physical distancing should be respected wherever feasible, especially during check-in, security check, pre-boarding and boarding.
  • Additional Mitigations When Distancing Is Not Possible:  When the recommended physical distancing of 1.5 metres is not possible, due to infrastructure or operational constraints, additional mitigations should be put in place. (Good solutions and practices will be collected and shared regularly)
  • Opposite Flows:  Where possible put in place separate opposite flows. This could be achieved through floor markings or direction signs. The access to airport lavatories should respect the principles of physical distancing.
  • Replacing Face Masks:  Require that all passengers wear medical face masks that are replaced every 4 hours. Airport operators should also consider allowing acquisition of masks in case passengers have no access to medical masks beforehand.
  • Staff Members and Face Masks:  Staff members who interact with passengers directly (e.g. security check agents, assistants for passengers with reduced mobility, cleaning staff, etc.) should wear a medical face mask, gloves and their uniforms.
  • Security Check Agents:  Security check agents performing body checks should wear face shields to further mitigate the risk of droplet inhalation caused close contact with passengers and should change their gloves after each passenger.
  • Airport Maintenance and Repair Work:  Maintenance and repair work in public areas should be prioritised and their schedule adjusted or possibly postponed if it is non-essential.

Boarding and disembarkation

  • Boarding Process:  Ensure efficient boarding processes that limit boarding time and contact risk.
  • Buses:  Where buses are used, an increased quantity should be provided in order to accommodate for physical distancing inside them.
  • Boarding by Rows:  Where boarding is performed using a boarding bridge, boarding by rows, starting with the furthest row from the entrance, should be considered. Reverse the process during disembarkation.
  • Touch Points:  Ensure all potential touch points are cleaned as effectively as possible.

Reducing risks at the arrival airport

  • Thermal Screening:  If thermal screening is required, passengers arriving from EU/EEA flights that have been subject to screening at the departure airport should be exempt on arrival.
  • Disposal of Masks and Waste:  On arrival, used medical face masks should be discarded safely in a separate tightly closed waste bag, which can be disposed as regular waste.
  • Baggage Claim:  Limit the gathering of passengers by maximising use of the available arrival baggage carousels and, where possible, use dedicated baggage carousels for flights from high-risk areas (as assessed by the local public health authorities at arrival airport).
  • Transfer Passengers:  New Section on Transfer Passengers added.  Where transfer security screening is required, it should follow appropriate sanitary requirements as described for the departure process.
  • Leaving the Airport:  Inform arriving passengers to leave the airport as quickly as possible.

Management of aviation personnel

  • Disinfection of Common Use Equipment:  New part added. Equipment of common use used by aviation personnel such as computers, tablets, radio stations, headsets, etc. should be disinfected before being used by another staff member.
  • Handovers for Shift Workers:  New recommendations for handovers. For staff working shifts, handovers should be conducted in a contact-free manner, i.e. via telephone, videoconference, electronic logs, or as a minimum through physical distancing.
  • Staff Training:  New recommendation that staff training should maximise the use of online training and virtual classrooms. 

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