European experts participate in ICAO Facilitation Panel

13-23 July - The 12th meeting of the ICAO Facilitation Panel (FALP/12) was held online from 13-23 July 2021, attended by experts from ten ECAC Member States, and the European Commission and ECAC in observer capacity.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of FALP/12 was on the outcomes of the Task Force on Health Issues Outbreaks in Aviation (TF-HIOA) and the proposed new and revised health-related Standards and Recommended Practices for Annex 9. Those SARPs were agreed by the Panel, with some adjustments on, for example, contact tracing and the checks on health-related documents.

The outcomes of the Working Group on Human Trafficking (WGHT) were another priority of the panel discussions. Marking a milestone on combatting human trafficking, the Panel agreed on the proposed comprehensive facilitation-related strategy on this topic.

The proposal put forward by two ECAC Member States (Czech Republic and Portugal) to upgrade certain Recommended Practices to Standards, relating to the transport of persons with disabilities, was widely supported and represented a significant step towards ensuring that all citizens have equal access to air transport, despite the unprecedented crisis the aviation sector is facing.

Assistance to aircraft accident victims and their families, another European priority, was also considered and the Panel agreed to upgrade Recommended Practice 8.46 to a Standard. The Panel furthermore supported the establishment of a new working group on Annex 9, which will be led by the United Kingdom expert as Rapporteur.

Passenger Name Records (PNR), Advanced Passenger Information (API) data quality, and ePassport issuance, as well as the preparations for the ICAO HLCC2021 were amongst other topics also considered.

The Panel and the European coordination group expressed their gratitude to Urs Haldimann (Switzerland), who chaired the Panel for the second and last time. The participants thanked him for his outstanding contribution to ECAC activities, wishing him all the best in his future activities.