Information for Airlines and Airline Crews Pertaining to Coronavirus
U.S. and foreign air crews are subject to the approved Occupational Health and Safety Plans established by their employers. Beyond that, U.S. Government COVID-19: Interim Health Guidance for Air Carriers and Crews has been provided jointly by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and can be accessed through the FAA website and CDC website. Air crews following their carrier’s Occupational Health and Safety Plan as well as the FAA-CDC crew health guidance will be considered compliant with coronavirus health requirements and are not subject to further screening or restrictions applicable to other travelers. As long as they remain asymptomatic, crew members may continue to work on flights into, within, or departing from the United States.
Additional interim guidance for crew on passenger or cargo flights and for first responders may also be found through the CDC website for Updated Interim Guidance for Airlines and Airline Crew: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Air Traffic Control Facilities
The FAA is temporarily closing and thoroughly cleaning air traffic control facilities where employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Every air traffic control facility in the country (PDF) has a contingency plan (PDF) to keep air traffic moving safely when events impede normal operations. In some cases, this means transferring duties to adjacent facilities.
Airport Slot-Use Waivers
The FAA is temporarily waiving minimum slot-use requirements at U.S. airports to help airlines that cancel flights due to the Coronavirus. Under normal circumstances, airlines can lose their slots at congested airports if they don’t use them at least 80 percent of the time. The FAA is waiving the 80-percent-use requirement through May 31, 2020 for U.S. and foreign airlines that have affected flights, and is proposing to extend the waiver through Oct. 24, 2020.
Temporary Parking of Overflow Aircraft
The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to flight reductions throughout the airline industry. As a result, the FAA issued CertAlert #20-02 Temporary Parking of Overflow Aircraft (PDF), for airport operators who are working with airlines on temporary parking plans for their aircraft. The CertAlert contains a list of recommendations an airport operator should consider when making decisions for overflow aircraft parking. To maintain the highest level of safety, the FAA is working with airport operators to ensure additional safety mitigations are put in place for temporary parking of aircraft.
Airport Safety Inspections
The FAA’s airport certification safety inspections will continue within required timeframes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport certification safety inspectors will complete inspections by September 30, 2020, as required by Part 139 and FAA Order 5280-5D (PDF). There will be no impact to safety. The inspections will be conducted using social-distancing measures to protect both FAA and airport personnel.
Pilot Oxygen Mask Requirements
The FAA has amended its cockpit oxygen-mask regulation to reduce the potential for pilots to be exposed to any pathogens that may be on the masks. The amendment fulfills the requirement of Section 579 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.