The US Department of Transportation has failed and to refused to develop or take the lead in having a National Aviation Preparedness Plan for communicable diseases, a GAO recommendation since 2015. This is also required by ICAO, t
he UN agency coordinating air travel internationally for Safety and Security.
According to Paul Hudson, President, FlyersRights.org
, who is also a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, the DOT and the US government have been both unprepared and in violation of international aviation safety standards costing many lives and trillions of dollars as air travel has spread the COVID-19 virus far and wide.
States have no jurisdiction over aviation which is solely a federal responsibility with DOT as the lead agency.
This is a major revelation that shows serious willful neglect by DOT for the past five years. It should receive attention from Congress and the White House.
, had been pressing DOT and FAA to take an active role in regulating and promoting health safety and security in air travel for the past two months. The Director of the FAA Civil Aeronautics Medical Institute CAMI with a 50 plus person staff advised Paul Hudson, lead attorney for Flyers Rights, that they were just told to monitor the CDC web site.
The FAA and DOT have been AWOL in combating the pandemic. They have called CDC and White House guidelines strictly voluntary for airlines and airports, refused to discourage nonessential air travel, handed out $60 Billion in coronavirus aid to air carriers and airports with no health safety restrictions, and deferred to airlines and other agencies all health safety issues.
According to the Government Accountability Office in December 2015, GAO made a recommendation critical to improving the U.S. aviation sector’s preparedness for future communicable disease threats from abroad. The watchdog recommended that the Secretary of Transportation should work with relevant stakeholders, such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to develop a national aviation-preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks. GAO said such a plan could establish a mechanism for coordination between the aviation and public health sectors and provides clear and transparent planning assumptions for a variety of types and levels of communicable disease threats.
However, as of April 2020, DOT has not developed a national aviation-preparedness plan to respond to communicable disease threats from abroad. DOT partially concurs with GAO’s recommendation and agrees that an aviation preparedness plan is needed, but continues to suggest that HHS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have responsibility for communicable disease response and preparedness planning, respectively, and that these departments should lead any efforts to address planning for communicable disease outbreaks, including for transportation.
In a state of panic, governments are now scrambling to come up with different ideas and approaches to move back to safety.