TALPA mail to IFALPA about Covid related issues:


As we continue to perform flight duties in Covid environment, some new concerns have aroused especially getting infected in the cockpit from the colleagues who show no symptoms and are unaware of their infection. Some companies apply PCR and similar tests on COVID 19 to the flight crews before their flight duties. We see that a similar process is also applied to flight crews flying to some countries for layover duty. In addition, since such a test cannot be performed in many companies and countries, pilots carrying viruses who are unaware of their infection can be at the cockpit for their flight duties. This situation may cause other flight crews to be infected as well. There are a couple of cases of our colleagues infected by Covid which we have strong doubts that they were infected by their colleagues in the cockpit  recently. They were not using masks in light of the recommendations by our organisations. At that point;
  1. We request a reevaluation of the recommendation about the usage of masks by the flight crew while performing flight duties in the cockpit. We have strong belief that, this precaoution should definitely protects the crew members from the infected but unaware flight crew members since the mask usage is especially recommended for infected persons by medical experts.
  2. Covid testing of flight crews before and after the flight duties may be evaluated and advised to member states by IFALPA as well. Implementation of Covid testing before and after the flight duties may replace the need to use masks during performing flight duties in the cockpit.
  3. We have been experiencing cases which our colleagues performing layover duties with Covid (-) negative test results before the flight, but tested Positive in the layover country (recent ones HKG and CMB). Our flight crews were quarantined in very unfavoable conditions that may aggravate their infection if any. Lot of efforts were put to transfer them to home country together with IFALPA as well, where some of them have failed. We strongly recommend a special process is established for the infected flight crew members by IFALPA to be implemented by all member states.
Kind regards,


IFALPA Response to TALPA mail:


Thank you for your email and for raising your concerns. The timing of this email is good, the HUPER Committee medical expert group is currently reviewing the IFALPA guidance on mask use in the cockpit as well as our general guidance on COVID-19. I will forward your email to them and ask that they take it into consideration in their updates.I will also ask that they provide some advice on testing for flight crew. As you may be aware, there is understood to be an average of five days from when a person is infected with the SARS-Cov-2 virus until sufficient virus has built up in the system for the tests to be effective. This complicates pre and post flight testing and may explain the unfortunate experience of your colleague in Hong Kong. IFALPA has advocated for recommendations for the repatriation of sick crew members, which are available in ICAO Electronic Bulletin 20/36, section 10.3.https://www.icao.int/Security/COVID-19/EBandSL/eb036e.pdf

You will note that the public health authorities involved in drafting the guidance required that they maintain the right to require quarantine.

I hope that this helps to provide you with some initial actions while the medical expert group has the opportunity to review the IFALPA guidance and to give you a more informed answer to the other concerns that you have raised.

With best wishes from Montreal,