COVID-19: Guidelines for safe skies

25 May 2020


Ensuring the safety of civil aviation workers has been at the centre of trade unions’ concerns since the COVID-19 pandemic began. ETF has been following the developments on the ground, receiving reports on companies’ (in)action in providing safety equipment and implementing safety measures to protect workers and passengers. No matter where the stories were coming from, it was clear that collective action by workers and their involvement in setting the guidelines and creating the measures is crucial.

The key institution setting guidelines for safe skies is the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). ETF takes an active role in the consultation process, making sure that the concerns of workers are always taken into account and that the guidelines correspond to the everyday working reality. Throughout the crisis, the agency has been publishing guidelines on the measures that need to be introduced in this new reality to protect workers. Here are the key documents that are aimed at keeping the skies safe.


[26 June 2020] Operational measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection

This SD supersedes EASA SD 2020-02 dated 13 March 2020.

[download here]


[21 May 2020] COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol

“EASA and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control issued a joint document defining measures to assure the health safety of air travellers and aviation personnel once airlines resume regular flight schedules following the severe disruption caused by COVID-19.”

[download here]


[5 May 2020] Safety information bulletin – Preparation for aerodromes to resume operations

“The Safety information bulletin gives guidance to aerodromes to prepare for a return to normal operations.

In many aerodromes across Europe, operational areas such as runways and taxiways are used for the long-term parking of grounded aircraft; aerodrome systems such as airfield lighting and radio navigation aids have been switched-off and regular inspections and maintenance may not always be performed according to schedule.

Under their safety management system and in cooperation with air navigation service providers, the aerodrome operators should establish a plan that should be implemented prior to the start of operations.”

[download here]


[29 April 2020] Guidelines for the transport of cargo in passenger aircraft

“The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has updated its guidelines to support issuance of exemptions for the transport of cargo in passenger compartments. The update addresses the feedback received as well as the technical content in order to provide differentiated aspects depending on the kind of cargo to be transported.

Issue 3 addresses, in particular, the following elements:

  • No need for a design approval when an exemption is sought, however, technical data from a DOA might support the exemption application;
  • Clarification on the re-classification to Minor Change only with EASA concurrence;
  • Limitation of such Minor Change approval to aircraft registered in EASA or EFTA states, unless specifically recognised by the State of Registry;
  • Clarification on suitable considerations/mitigations in particular when only medical supplies are transported.”

[download here]

For an overview of health and safety-related needs of aviation workers, take a look at our video on the topic:

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