EASA updates Safety Directives for cleaning and disinfection of aircraft in COVID-19 pandemic


The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued updates to two Safety Directives relating to cleaning and disinfection of aircraft for operations in the current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The updated documents (EASA SD 2021-04 and EASA SD 2021-05) are based on assessment of the evidence and data collected during the past year as well as the current epidemiological situation.

The Safety Directives mandate operators to fully clean and disinfect aircraft at least once every seven days – or more frequently if deemed necessary on the basis of the operator’s risk assessment based on the incidence rates in accordance with the criteria set in the Council Recommendation 2020/1475, as last updated, and variants of concern (VOCs) circulation in the territories where the aircraft is operated. The risk assessment should also take account of other mitigation measures in place (e.g. mandatory negative testing before boarding, use of vaccination/recovery certificates in the form of Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent, duration of the disinfecting effects of the substances used). 

This risk-based approach incorporates the recent evidence and allows the operators and national competent authorities to customise the cleaning activities appropriately. 

Operators are also mandated to clean and disinfect the aircraft after transporting a passenger or crew member exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 once they have received confirmation of having had a positive case on board.

These SDs supersede EASA SD 2020-03 and EASA SD 2020-04.