Communicable diseases and pandemics have important implications for airlines and their customers. On this page you will find resources for airlines and other travel professionals medical crews.
Latest summary of medical evidence (April 2022): COVID-19: Air Travel, Public Health Measures and Risk: A Brief Summary of Current Medical Evidence (pdf).
In May 2023 WHO announced the end of the PHEIC (Public Health Emergency of International Concern) status of COVID-19 and a move to long-term approach to deal with the ongoing health challenges of COVID-19. IATA welcomed the termination of the PHEIC with a statement.
The number of cases of Mpox have declined in almost all non-endemic countries over recent months. Human-to-human transmission occurs through close contact with infectious material from skin lesions of an infected person, generally from skin-skin and mouth-skin contact, and the vast majority of spread so far has been among men who have sex with men (MSM). There are currently no restrictions to travel in relation with Mpox although WHO advises recent close contacts of cases to avoid travel.
Ebola, Marburg and other viral haemorrhagic fevers
There have been a number of outbreaks of viral haemorrhagic fevers in recent years, including Ebola in Uganda in 2022, and two simultaneous outbreaks of Marburg in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania in early 2023. While there is potential for people with these diseases to travel by air, spread is generally only when they are highly unwell, and occurs through very close contact such as within households, during medical treatment, or at funeral rituals. Any cross-border spread is considered more likely to be through land borders. It is generally considered that these outbreaks should not need to impact international air travel.
Emergency Response Guidelines
Based on experience with different outbreaks, the Emergency Response Plan & Action Checklist (pdf) is meant to be used by air carriers in the event of a public health emergency.
An important part of this plan involves a series of guidelines and best practices for airline staff:
Universal Precaution Kit (2017) (pdf)
Crew health precautions in pandemic (2020) (pdf)
Maintenance Crew (2017) (pdf)
Cargo & Baggage Handlers (2017) (pdf)
Passenger Agents (2017) (pdf)
Flu Hygiene flyer (pdf)
Cabin Announcement Scripts (2017) (pdf)
Cabin Air Quality Brief (pdf)
Cabin Crew (2017) (pdf)
Cleaning Crew (2017) (pdf)
Bird Strike (2017) (pdf)