Efforts by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to assist member states in developing effective, globally harmonised national contingency plans to deal with the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic have intensified.

ICAO aviation medicine chief Tony Evans said that the overall objective of the contingency plans were to strike a delicate balance in minimising health risks while maintaining international travel and trade.

Expertise from several organisations including the World Health Organisation, the European Civil Aviation Conference, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Air Transport Association has been drawn on to produce the most effective guidelines for contingency proceedures.

In addition, the Cooperative Arrangement for the Prevention of Spread of Communicable Disease through Air Travel (CAPSCA) has enhanced inter-agency cooperation to increase prepardness within the aviation sector.

ICAO has adopted a declaration stating that states’ responses should be balanced, suitable, fair and strictly limited to meet the health risks.