US Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) have introduced into Congress a measure designed to develop a national aviation preparedness plan regarding future public health emergencies to avoid a repeat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The measure, named The National Aviation Preparedness Plan Act of 2020, is supported by key aviation stakeholders, such as the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).
“Lessons learned from the ongoing COovid-19 pandemic show the urgent need for a national aviation preparedness plan to ensure the safety of aviation crews, employees and passengers,” said Representative Larsen, chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee. “This bill will bring Federal agencies, frontline aviation workers, and other key stakeholders to the table to develop a clear, comprehensive plan of action for future outbreaks.”
Provisions of the bill include requiring the Department of Transportation (DOT) – in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security and other relevant federal agencies – to develop a national aviation preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks; directing the DOT to consult with the aviation industry, labour unions and other key aviation stakeholders on the development of such a plan; and calling for a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment of the plan to determine if it responds to public health recommendations.
Representative Beyer added, “Our legislation would require better future preparedness to prevent the spread of disease via air travel during a pandemic. Watchdogs within the US Government and the United Nations have both identified the necessity of a coordinated national strategy to prevent the spread of disease by air travel as a crucial element in national and international pandemic response. Our legislation would require that they do so as soon as possible, with input from agencies across the government, as well as relevant stakeholders in the aviation sector.”