On May 19, 2020, the new health measures were published by the National Health Surveillance Agency (“ANVISA”) that must be adopted by the airline industry. Technical Note No. 101/2020/SEI/GIMTV/GGPAF/DIRE5/ANVISA (“Technical Note”) updated the protocol in effect since January 2020 that is to be executed by the Working Group coordinated by the National Civil Aviation Agency (“ANAC”) at the request of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The aim is to enhance safety for all involved in air transport for the duration of the pandemic caused by the transmission of the SARS-COV-2 virus (“COVID-19”).
Besides the distancing of people in airports, hygienization of airports and aircraft, and the use of personal protection equipment (“PPE”) by the sector’s employees, measures that are already being applied, some of the points brought up by the Technical Note are those indicated below:
- For Airports:
- Intensify surveillance of suspected cases, for immediate orientation regarding home isolation and reporting to the epidemiological surveillance agencies;
- Ensure adequate coverage of health surveillance activities at international airports, particularly at the time of arrival and departure of both domestic and international flights.
- For airport employees and workers:
- Keep at least two (2) meters away from other people when they have direct contact with travelers, especially those who are coughing or sneezing;
- In addition to using PPE, they should frequently wash their hands with soap and water, or, in their absence, when their hands are not visibly dirty, use 70% alcohol gel and practice respiratory etiquette.
- For airport managers:
- Publicize audible warnings in all domestic and international boarding and disembarkation areas;
- Notify the Health Authority of suspected cases identified in the airport area;
- Publish on their websites guidance that only people who are going to travel should go to the terminals;
- Require workers and travelers to wear respiratory protective masks when in transit or activity at airport facilities;
- To organize the circulation of people in the terminals in such a way that the distance of 2 (two) meters between everyone is respected, while waiting in queues or waiting rooms, especially for check-in, boarding, and disembarkation procedures;
- Keep tables at a minimum distance of two (2) meters from the back of the chairs in food courts or other areas destined to the realization of meals;
- Make the trip to the remote area for boarding and disembarking with a capacity not exceeding 50% of the vehicle’s capacity;
- Keep central climate control systems running as long as the air renewal is open at maximum capacity. In places without air renewal it is advisable to keep doors and windows open.
- For the airlines:
- Disclose audible warnings on national and international flights;
- Supervise the aircraft cleaning teams as to the intensification of their cleaning and disinfection procedures of the aircraft under their responsibility, and must go through a cleaning and disinfection procedure at each stopover, before the boarding of new passengers;
- Keep the seat pockets empty, leaving only the security cards, which must go through a cleaning and disinfection procedure with an appropriate sanitizer at each stopover or connection;
- Require crew and passengers to wear respiratory protective masks on the aircraft;
- Instruct passengers to remain seated when disembarking, and inform them that disembarkation will take place in rows, starting with the seats located at the front of the aircraft;
- Allocate travelers, whenever possible, far apart from each other inside the aircraft;
- As soon as the doors are closed, whenever possible, the aircraft climate control system should be turned on and selected in non-recirculation mode, that is, with the highest possible air renewal;
- Preferably suspend in-flight service on domestic flights. When kept or on international flights, prioritize food and beverages in individual packages, sanitized before service.
Currently, all aircraft in the Brazilian companies’ fleets have air filtration technology (HEPA system) that contributes to avoid contagion from infectious diseases. This system captures 99.7% of the particles during its operation, renewing the air in the airplanes every three (3) minutes.
All these measures are in addition to the promotion of the essential air network which, as of May 2020, has 44 cities served, meaning a reduction of 90% of the domestic market and almost 100% of the international market, in operations almost exclusively for the repatriation of Brazilians abroad and cargo transportation.
The full text of the Technical Note can be consulted here
The Aeronautical Law team at DDSA – De Luca, Derenusson, Schuttoff & Advogados will continue to monitor the subject matter and will update its clients and partners on any developments.