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European Agencies Drop COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol

COVID-19 health and safety measures for aviation were formally retired by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Thursday.

The Aviation Health Safety Protocol (AHSP) was issued by the two agencies in May 2020, and aimed to promote a harmonized approach to measures on COVID-19. The protocol also aimed to reduce disturbance to flight operations while ensuring safety for the European population, ECDC said.

The decision to retire the protocol was taken in the light of decreasing and stable trends regarding COVID-19 in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) since March 2023. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on May 5 that “COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).”

However, the two European agencies still encourage passengers, crew members, aviation stakeholders and national competent authorities to continue to focus on proper ventilation, hygiene measures and respiratory etiquette.