Communicable diseases, particularly those with the potential of becoming public health emergencies of international concern, have important implications for airlines and their customers. A primary goal of IATA in any such event is to ensure a timely flow of accurate information to its members, the traveling public and the industry as a whole.
IATA is closely monitoring developments related to the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan (China) and is actively engaged with the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat, ICAO and the US Centers for Disease Control.
WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China.
WHO is advising measures to limit the risk of export or import of the disease, without unnecessary restrictions on international traffic. See WHO's update from 24 January.
In case of symptoms suggestive to respiratory illness before, during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their health care provider.
Airlines are prepared to work with public health authorities when there are outbreaks of communicable diseases with well-developed standards and best practices (see resources below).
IATA will provide further updates as appropriate.
To keep updated with WHO advice for international travel and trade, refer to the WHO web site.
(Last updated: 25 Jan. 2020)
Measels is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when traveling internationally.
For more information, please see the WHO advisory on Measles.
Ebola update in DRC
On 17 July 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR). There have now been a total of 2500 EVD cases reported with an overall case fatality ratio of two-thirds. WHO's current risk assessment for travel and transport is not recommending any travel restrictions or entry screening at airports. IATA published a statement on 18 July 2019.
For more information, please see the WHO update on Ebola in DRC.
Working with WHO
IATA works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the global authority on public health emergencies, on a range of public health issues. For example, see the WHO Guide on Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation (pdf) and the guidelines for TB prevention and control.
Working with National Public Health Authorities
IATA also cooperates with national authorities. In association with ICAO, IATA contributed to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Infection Control Guidelines for Cabin Crew Members on Commercial Aircraft.
Based on the experience with different outbreaks, IATA has produced an Emergency Response Plan and Action Checklist (pdf), for use 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 in the event of public health emergencies.
- Cabin Announcement Scripts (2017) (pdf)
- Universal Precaution Kit (2017) (pdf)
- Cabin Air Quality Brief (pdf)
- Bird Strike (2017) (pdf)
- Maintenance Crew (2017) (pdf)
- Cargo & Baggage Handlers (2017) (pdf)
- Cabin Crew (2017) (pdf)
- Cleaning Crew (2017) (pdf)
- Passenger Agents (2017) (pdf)
- Passenger Locator Form
- Flu Hygiene flyer (pdf)