The highly-anticipated ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline is now published. The document represents the first time both parties have collaborated on a publication of this magnitude. By making it available online, free of charge, ACA and IFSA hope to support the global aviation and airline catering industries as they continue to respond to the pandemic.
Staff at airlines, airports and catering companies always take safety to heart. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis like no other in recent memory, service companies needed to adapt quickly to a new reality and ensure that the over 3 billion onboard meals produced and delivered every year could continue to be served safely. During this time, the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) and Airline Catering Association (ACA) saw an opportunity to combine their expertise and create comprehensive guidelines that companies around the world can reference to bolster their existing crisis plans.
The guidelines were designed to be pragmatic, and feature specific examples describing how stakeholders can re-engineer spaces and operations to win the fight against COVID-19. IFSA’s executive director, Lauren Costello, explained that the resulting document is an ideal starting point for companies looking to create business-specific procedures and training materials tailored to their regional health requirements. “The guidelines illustrate the roles for various staff, as well as how to communicate externally with local and/or national government authorities, customers and suppliers,” she said.
“Members who volunteered for the working group brought their unique expertise to the development of the ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline.”Lauren Costello, IFSA
The ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline supersedes former individual ACA and IFSA guides. It provides instructions on how to create a pandemic committee, assess risk, implement company-wide control measures and more. It also features handy checklists in the annex section that can help catering businesses weed out key risk factors upon a restart of operations. While COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness, many risks remain in the service sector, the guidelines were designed to limit infection of staff, visitors, contractors, customers and passengers as much as possible, Costello noted.
Professionals from airlines and caterers to suppliers and industry consultants formed the core of the working group that prepared the Guideline. “IFSA and ACA collectively represent the most skilled individuals in the airline catering space. Members who volunteered for the working group brought their unique expertise to the development of the ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline,” Costello said. They scoured dozens of documents from top agencies including Airport Council International, CDC, EASA, FDA, IATA, WHO and other governing bodies in order to produce the most comprehensive guidance available.
Costello expressed pride in being able to collaborate with ACA on joint guidelines. Previously, both agencies have worked together on regulatory issues in the US and Europe and have appeared together at events and on panels to share industry insights on key issues. Commenting on the accomplishment, ACA’s managing director Fabio Gamba said, “This industry has shown time and again how adaptable and resilient it can be. And we are glad we could, together with our colleagues from IFSA, bring our contribution with this very comprehensive guidance which is publicly available.”
Download the ACA/IFSA COVID-19 Guideline here.