The major objective of the project is to ensure an efficient, multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, coherent response at the EU-level to public health threats (PHT) in air transport (nota bene: PHT is defined as threats from communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as from physical, chemical and biological sources and deliberate release acts):
(1) by creating a functioning AIRSAN NETWORK of national public health (PHA) and civil aviation authorities (CAA), local PHA at location of airports, airport management responsible for public health events and airlines across EU Member States (MS)
(around 10 airports and a minimum of 8 major European airlines across at least 8 MS)
(2) by reviewing existing, developing and testing new standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines on control of PHT in air transport to be implemented across the AIRSAN NETWORK. An AIRSAN WEBSITE linked to an AIRSAN COMMUNICATION PLATFORM will serve for information gathering and information exchange. An AIRSAN TRAINING TOOL will be developed to support countries with implementation of SOPs and IHR.
Major challenges related to variations in preparedness and response to PHT in air transport compromise the delivery of harmonized information, potentially delaying interventions. The recent projects RAGIDA and REACT aimed to coordinate response to PHT risk detection and assessment. Even though, a number of EU legal documents exist on the coordination of PHT, no formal arrangements exist to coordinate response to PHT in the aviation sector.
AIRSAN is built on the following arguments: a rapid increase in number of people travelling by air in Europe results in a growing risk of cross-border PHT; there is an urgent need to develop a number of coordinated actions within the EU as a reaction to possible PHT in air transport; presently existing mechanisms differ between the MS, negatively affecting the acceptance of these diverse measures by general public and the compliance by professionals. AIRSAN will support MS in implementing the new IHR and will set the base for coordinated information exchange in case of serious cross-border PHTs posed by air transport.
A survey will be conducted across all identifiable EU national PHA and CAA, local PHA responsible for designated airports, airport management responsible for public health events on designated airports and airlines serving EU airports aiming to identify points of contact and existing SOPs in use. An AIRSAN NETWORK will be built using identified contact points. A detailed review of existing SOPs in the field will be conducted and followed by the development of new SOPs or adaptation of existing SOPs to avoid duplication. Developed SOPs will be tested in the field using real-time events or retrospective assessment of past events in case of absence of a real-time event. An AIRSAN WEBSITE linked to an AIRSAN COMMUNICATION PLATFORM will be developed and serve as a mean of communication and dissemination. It will be interlinked to the EWRS and IHR system to avoid creation of a separate reporting system and will build on the experience of the SHIPSAN projects. An AIRSAN TRAINING TOOL will be developed to support the EU MS in implementation of the IHR and the new SOPs.
The intended outcome is the establishment of a coordinated AIRSAN NETWORK of national PHA and CAA, local PHA, airports and airlines involved in the control of PHT in air transport across the EU and development of a set of agreed-upon actions accepted by the AIRSAN NETWORK. An AIRSAN WEBSITE linked to an AIRSAN COMMUNICATION PLATFORM will be developed and serve as a mean of communication and dissemination. An AIRSAN TRAINING TOOL will be developed to support EU MS with implementation.
The sustainability of achievements will be ensured by close cooperation with the relevant key stakeholders and agencies to disseminate the developments (AIRSAN NETWORK, AIRSAN WEBSITE linked to an AIRSAN COMMUNICATION PLATFORM, continuous link with EWRS and IHR, AIRSAN TRAINING TOOL) beyond the life of the project. Several partners will be approached regarding the issue of overtaking these responsibilities.
It is expected that established professional international cooperation between partner organisations will promote further cooperation and assistance in the area of response to PHT in air transport.