SARPs : Public Health Emergency Airport Plan

What is Annex 14?

The ICAO Annex 14 is a body tasked with setting out crucial standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) important for airport operations and designs that states are required to undertake to apply through national legislations.

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What emergencies does it address in addition to those of public health?

In addition to public health emergencies, Annex 14 addresses firefighting and rescue services, air traffic control units, ambulance, medical assistance, police, aircraft operators, and security services.

Is it necessary for there to be a separate public health emergency airport plan (separate from the aerodrome emergency plan)?

Aerodrome Emergency Plan is tasked with ensuring that procedures for initial response to the unexpected event are intact until transferred to a relevant authority, which includes reporting suspected cases (Gosadi et al., 2015). As such, it is necessary to have a separate public health emergency airport plan from the aerodrome. For instance, Airport Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan’s core procedures and capacities will be to manage public health events such as PHEIC or local outbreaks. Its duty will be to complement the work of Aerodrome emergency services.

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Which global entity requires an aerodrome or airport to have an emergency plan?

World Health Organization (WHO) requires an aerodrome or an airport to have an emergency plan to assist it in responding to a communicable disease that has the potential of posing a serious public health risk.

Which entity oversees its contents?

Local airline agents are tasked to oversee WHO’s guidelines regarding airport emergency plans by ensuring that they are informed about any public health response arrangement. The latter includes crucial information relating to designated facilities and also has local procedures integrated into their protocols.

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Which entity issues an aerodrome certificate for those aerodromes that comply with the ICAO standards and recommended practice?

States are tasked with the issuance of a certificate for aerodromes that comply with the ICAO standards and recommended practice (Adams, 2015). They are required to certify aerodromes used for international operation according to the specifications as outlined in the Annex and other relevant ICAO specifications with the help of an appropriate regulatory framework.

What is the advantage of having an aerodrome public health emergency plan?

The advantage of having an aerodrome public health emergency plan is that it helps in minimizing the impacts of a given emergency, especially in respect to saving lives. It is done by providing for the coordination of the appropriate actions to be undertaken in its vicinity.

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Who has the responsibility for activities at an airport in response to a public health event?

The responsibility for activities at an airport while responding to a public health event rests mainly with the local, regional, or national public health authority as well as the relevant airport operator.

In developing an aerodrome emergency plan, which entities need to be involved?

The emergency plan is intended to coordinate the participation or response of all the agencies that exist, which, in the wisdom of the appropriate authority, could be of great help in responding to an emergency. They include public health authorities, business process owners, department heads, technical proprietors, system managers, primary users, business partners, or other stakeholders.

With the arrival of an affected aircraft, where should it be parked?

The pilot in command requires to be advised adequately on where to park the affected airplane. Ordinarily, such crucial information is communicated to the captain by the air traffic control. Such aircraft ought to be stationed with the important facilities to further its continued ventilation and enable easy accessibility to public health personnel to attend to any suspected case and allow effective clearance of passengers.

Is there a need to have a Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for the arrival of an affected aircraft?

There is no need to have a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the arrival of an infected aircraft because many cases of suspected transmittable illness onboard are minor illnesses (Schultz et al., 2020). In most cases, those have no substantial public health implications (Schultz et al., 2020). Public health authority procedures involved with assessing onboard suspected cases of infectious illnesses may culminate into substantial delays and disruption of airlines and passengers (Mandal et al., 2020). As such, there should be a notification of the suspected cases through the air traffic services in advance before the arrival of the aircraft and during the usual working hours.

Conclusion

Generally, adhering to SARPs and having a robust emergency plan should be sufficient to avoid hazardous situations. However, in complicated cases, the airport may cooperate with the entities that were involved in developing the latter to respond to them properly. SOP might also be instrumental in managing the issues if the illness is proven to be severe, although establishing it on board is difficult. The aircraft’s crew and the airport’s staff should follow the best practice to address a specific disease and its containment procedure.

References

Adams, P. (2015). Aerodrome certification for small and emerging airports: Is it an issue? Journal of Airport Management, 9(3), 239-247.

Gosadi, I. M., BinSaeed, A., Al-Hazmi, A. M., Fadl, A. A., Alharbi, K. H., & Swarelzahab, M. M. (2015). Evaluation of applied public health emergency system at Prince Mohammed International Airport in Almedinah during Hajj season 2014: A qualitative case study. BMC Research Notes, 8(1), 1-8.

Mandal, S., Bhatnagar, T., Arinaminpathy, N., Agarwal, A., Chowdhury, A., Murhekar, M., Gangakhedkar, R. R., & Sarkar, S. (2020). Prudent public health intervention strategies to control the coronavirus disease 2019 transmission in India: A mathematical model-based approach. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 151(2-3), 190-199.

Schultz, M., Evler, J., Asadi, E., Preis, H., Fricke, H., & Wu, C. L. (2020). Future aircraft turnaround operations considering post-pandemic requirements. Journal of Air Transport Management, 89, 101886.

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