Oct. 13, 2014

With the Ebola virus a possible threat to those in the aviation industry, as well as the traveling public, the FAA has clarified its authority and provided guidance as part of its effort to protect the health and welfare of flight crews and passengers.

In a statement issued on Oct. 3, the FAA noted that it is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the aviation industry and other federal government partners on issues of public health and on disease awareness. According to the aviation agency, the CDC provides guidance on training and procedures for the aviation industry, and is the best source for studies and reports on infectious diseases. Review the CDC’s Ebola resources.

According to the FAA, any decision to restrict flights between the United States and other countries due to public health and disease concerns would be an interagency decision. So far, both the World Health Organization and the CDC have not recommended general travel restrictions to or from countries affected by Ebola.

The FAA clarified that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the CDC have developed policies, procedures and protocols to identify travelers that are known by U.S. public health officials to have a communicable disease, and to handle that in a manner that minimizes risk to the public. The FAA said that CBP personnel review all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses at all U.S. ports of entry, including all federal inspection services areas at U.S. airports that service international flights. If they identify an individual believed to be infected, CBP will contact CDC.

“While not an immediate threat to business aviation, operators that fly internationally must be vigilant about staying informed and coordinating with local authorities, FBOs, flight planning partners and others to protect the health and welfare of their crews and passengers,” said Dr. Quay Snyder, president and CEO of Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS).“From maintenance technicians to chief pilots and aviation directors, flight departments must stay informed and react appropriately to minimize exposure to any communicable diseases.”

Review the FAA’s Oct. 3 statement.