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Trials to test public-health safety measures during flights underway 

SINGAPORE and the UK have started a series of trials to test measures aimed at reducing the public health risk to air passengers, air crew and airport staff, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority said in a joint statement on Monday.

Under these trials, participating cabin crew test the efficacy of measures throughout the travel journey between Singapore and the UK, which include maintaining safe-distancing measures, meeting all relevant customs, immigration and health requirements, observing good hand hygiene and reducing interactions with passengers.

These measures are based on the ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) guidelines, and will be customised to each state’s requirements, the statement said.

“These guidelines take a flexible and pragmatic approach by focusing on what makes operational and economic sense, bearing in mind that different countries would face different conditions, risks and risk tolerance. The trials will help validate and improve the processes where needed,” said Kevin Shum, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

Data will be collected by the participating parties for all phases of the flights, and will be analysed and reviewed to strengthen the guidelines where necessary.

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The ICAO, CAAS, United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, Changi Airport, Heathrow Airport, British Airways and Singapore Airlines are participating in these trials.

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority added: “Aviation is an inherently international industry, so it is critical that we collaborate closely with our partners around the world to address the challenges presented by Covid-19.

“Ultimately, this work should help keep aviation as safe as possible for both passengers and crew throughout the current pandemic.”

CART’s work and deliverables have been developed in league with the ICAO Council member states, the World Health Organisation (WHO), international organisations and partners in the aviation industry, said Liu Fang, ICAO’s secretary-general. 

This is so that member states and those in the industry can implement "harmonised risk mitigation measures in full accordance with the latest medical and traveller health advice available", Dr Liu added.

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