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Bahrain’s COVID-19 response showcased at CAPSCA meeting on emergency preparedness planning

Feb 19th 2023
Bahrain’s COVID-19 response showcased at CAPSCA meeting on emergency preparedness planning

Bahrain’s exemplary national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the aviation sector’s preparedness for future health crises were under the spotlight during the joint EUR/MID 10th Meeting of the Middle East Regional Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA EUR-MID/10) and Aviation Medicine Workshop. Held in the Kingdom of Bahrain for the first time, the event saw participation from international, regional, and local organizations.

Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), in coordination with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications, hosted the meeting, which brought together aviation industry players from across the world to discuss improving preparedness planning and emergency responses to public health events.

Over 50 CAPSCA partners and members were in attendance, The meeting comes at a time when the global civil aviation industry is edging closer to recovery. According to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) latest industry forecast, worldwide passenger demand is expected to reach 85.5% of 2019 levels during 2023.

BAC Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah said: “In the event of an international outbreak of communicable diseases, the aviation sector can assist by reducing the likelihood of individuals with such diseases travelling outside the outbreak area. Although it is not feasible to completely halt the spread of some diseases, advance preparation can help to reduce the consequences. Thanks to the close coordination between BAC, the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus, and Civil Aviation Affairs, we were able to ensure the safety of passengers while continuing operations at the previous terminal and preparing for the transfer of operations to the new terminal. The insight shared during this meeting will help to ensure the aviation ecosystem is as prepared as possible to protect public health, secure safe and economically viable air transport, with minimal effect on international travel and trade, and enhance multi-sector collaboration and cooperation.”

ICAO European and North Atlantic (EUR/NAT) Office Regional Director Nicolas Rallo said: “ICAO would like to extend its appreciation to Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs and BAC for their outstanding efforts in organizing and facilitating this important event. CAPSCA is a global initiative aimed at improving preparedness planning and responses to public health events that affect the aviation sector, such as an epidemic or pandemic. Its main objective is to assist states with the implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices, and World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations to prevent the spread of disease by air and ensure sustainability of travel, trade, and tourism.”

ICAO Middle East (MID) Office Regional Director, Mohamed Abu Baker Farea said: “This edition featured presentations by both ICAO’s Middle East and EUR\NAT offices, allowing the two regions to share pertinent information more easily. ICAO would like to thank Bahrain for hosting this important event and looks forward to more fruitful and successful meetings in the future.”

CAPSCA is a voluntary, cross-sectorial, multi-organizational collaboration program managed by the ICAO with support from WHO. It brings together public and private aviation stakeholders to ensure a coordinated approach to public health risks.