The International Air Transport Association (IATA) clarified that the aircraft cabin remains a very low risk environment for contracting COVID-19 even though Omicron appears to be more transmissible than other variants in all environments.
According to IATA’s Medical Advisor Dr. David Powell, factors that contribute to the very low risks include aircraft design characteristics (direction of air flow, rate of air exchange and filtration), the forward orientation of passengers while seated, well-enforced masking, and enhanced sanitary measures. The controlled nature of the aircraft cabin compared to other enclosed environments adds a further measure of protection, Dr. Powell noted.
Public health authorities have not suggested further measures for indoor environments as a result of Omicron; and IATA’s advice for travellers, including correctly wearing masks, is unchanged and even more important.
IATA has been in strong advocacy for airlines to maintain strict compliance to the safety requirements as outlined for the aviation industry under the global leadership and coordination of the Internationla Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).