Skip to page content

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update9/30/2020

Second Amendment to Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a final rule today that further amends Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118 (PDF). Aviation activity continues to increase, and the industry is beginning to address the backlog of required training, checking and testing requirements. However, many of the challenges that existed when the FAA first issued the SFAR in April remain today as the public health emergency continues. SFAR 118-2 will not be effective until it is available for public inspection in the Federal Register. Current SFAR 118-1 remains in effect until that occurs.

The chart contained within this final rule provides a summary of each affected regulation; the original SFAR relief provided on April 29, 2020; the amended SFAR relief from June 25, 2020; and the second amended relief provided in this SFAR update. Those who may be affected by this amendment should carefully review the eligibility, conditions and duration of each section of relief to ensure compliance. The FAA will update this website once SFAR 118-2 is effective.

Amendment of Air Carrier Training Exemptions

The FAA is amending two regulatory exemptions it previously issued to scheduled and on-demand US air carriers. The agency is amending exemptions 18510 (PDF) and 18511 (PDF), which give personnel grace periods for completing certain training and qualification requirements due through Dec. 31, 2020. The agency previously amended through Nov. 30, 2020 exemptions 18509 and 18512, which give crewmembers relief from having to don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks in training, checking, or evaluation. The amendments do not expand relief that the original exemptions and previous amendments provided. The new amendments extend the same relief to the next population of crewmembers who will become due in the approaching months.


9/29/2020

FAA Extends Flight Attendant Exemption

The FAA is amending through Jan. 31, 2021 an exemption the agency previously issued to help protect flight attendants from contracting COVID-19. The exemption allows flight attendants to relocate from the seats they would normally occupy so they can observe social distancing. It also excuses them from having to demonstrate the use of certain emergency equipment including life preservers and oxygen masks, allowing for alternative methods to inform passengers regarding the use of such equipment. Individual carriers must submit a Letter of Intent and be granted authorization by FAA in order to exercise the relief in the exemption.

Updated Health Guidance for Air Carriers and Crews
The FAA issued an updated Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) (PDF) that provides interim health guidance from the CDC that air carriers and crew members should be following during the COVID-19 public health emergency.


8/13/2020

FAA Amends Exemption for Certain Air Ambulance Personnel

To ensure the continuity of air ambulance operations, the FAA is amending an exemption to the timeframes for completing recurrent training and testing requirements for certain air ambulance personnel. The amendment does not expand upon the relief the FAA already provided for personnel with training and testing requirements due through July 31, 2020. Rather, it provides the same relief to a new group of air personnel with training and qualification requirements due in August and September, 2020. Operators must fulfill specific requirements to exercise the relief offered in this exemption.


7/31/2020

Amendment of Air Carrier Training Exemptions

The FAA is amending four regulatory exemptions it previously issued to scheduled and on-demand US air carriers. The agency is amending through Sept. 30, 2020 exemptions 18510 and 18511. The agency is amending through Nov. 30, 2020 exemptions 18509 and 18512. The exemptions give operators grace periods for completing certain training and qualification requirements, and give crewmembers relief from having to don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks in training, checking, or evaluation. The new amendments do not expand relief that the original exemption and first amendment provided. The new amendments extend the same relief to the next population of crewmembers who will become due in the approaching months.


7/23/2020

FAA Issues Guidance about Flexibility Managing Scheduled Maintenance Requirements Due to COVID-19

The FAA issued Information for Operators (InFO) 20005 which notifies operators of temporary changes to FAA policy on the use of short-term escalations (STE) to manage scheduled maintenance requirements affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This InFO also provides information on increased flexibilities related to the use of STEs and how operators may request FAA authorization for the expanded use of STEs.


7/14/2020

FAA issues new cargo exemption, amends existing cargo exemption

The FAA issued a new exemption authorizing airlines to transport cargo that is secured to the seat tracks of a passenger aircraft when seats are removed and no passengers are in the cabin. This exemption is valid through July 10, 2021.

The FAA also amended a previously issued exemption that allows airlines to secure cargo to passenger seats when no passengers are in the cabin. The amendment provides additional crew training details and extends the exemption through July 10, 2021.


7/6/2020

FAA Issues Guidance on Operations in Terminal Airspace
The FAA has issued Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 20012 to advise air carriers and other commercial operators on how to continue operating safely in terminal airspace when anAir Traffic Control (ATC) facility with responsibility for that airspace closes unexpectedly.


7/2/2020

Government publishes national strategy for air transportation system recovery

The U.S. government has published a comprehensive national strategy for the recovery of the nation’s air transportation system. The Runway to Recovery recognizes that a safe, secure, efficient and resilient air transportation system that addresses the threat of COVID-19 is critical to reducing the public health risk and supporting the United States’ critical infrastructure needs. The document provides guidance to airports and airlines for implementing measures to mitigate the public health risks associated with COVID-19 and prepare for an increase in travel volume, while ensuring that aviation safety and security are not compromised. It identifies measures that airports and airlines should implement across all operations and all stages of travel to, from and within the United States, along with a roadmap explaining how those measures should be adapted to the unique air travel environments.

View the Department of Transportation's Press Release on the Runway to Recovery.


7/1/2020

FAA Issues Guidance on Operations in Oceanic Airspace
The FAA has issued SAFO 20011, Operations in Oceanic Airspace During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This SAFO advises flightcrews of the potential loss of Air Traffic Control (ATC) services in the event of an oceanic ATC facility shutdown and recommends the mitigating procedures contained herein.


6/25/2020

FAA Amends SFAR 118 to Further Extend COVID-19 Relief
The FAA has issued an amendment to Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR)118. The amendment recognizes that even as stay-at-home advisories are lifted, airmen continue to experience difficulty complying with certain training, recency, checking, testing and duration requirements. The amendment extends some medical certificate relief that the original SFAR provided and expands medical relief to people whose certificates will expire in the coming months. It also expands relief to a new population of airmen who may be unable to satisfy training and qualification requirements due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Those who may be affected by this amendment should carefully review the eligibility, conditions and duration of each section of relief to ensure compliance.


5/29/2020

Extended Air Carrier Training Exemptions
The FAA is extending through July 31, 2020 four regulatory exemptions (18509, 18510, 18511,18512) it previously issued to scheduled and on-demand US air carriers. The exemptions give operators grace periods for completing certain training and qualification requirements, and give crewmembers relief from having to don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks in training, checking, or evaluation. They originally were going to expire on May 31.

Updated CARES Act FAQs
The FAA has updated our frequently asked questions about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Updated Guidance for Airport Sponsors Considering COVID-19 Restrictions or Accommodations
The FAA has prepared guidance for airport sponsors contemplating airport closures or restricting airport access at federally funded airports. The FAA wants airport sponsors to closely review and understand what the guidance allows them to do, what they cannot do, and what they should consider before taking any action. In any instance, the FAA must be notified and approve any airport closure.


5/20/2020

Exemption for Transporting Cargo on Airplane Seats

The FAA issued an exemption that allows U.S. airlines to carry cargo on seats in airplane cabins when no passengers are being transported. The FAA determined the exemption would reduce the chance that movement of critical cargo would be interrupted as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. To exercise the exemption, airlines must submit a letter of intent and receive specific authorization from the FAA, and observe a number of conditions and limitations. The exemption is effective through Dec. 31, 2020.


5/13/2020

FAA issues cargo guidance for safety inspectors

The FAA has issued information and guidance for agency safety inspectors about the carriage of cargo in the cabin of passenger-carrying planes when no passengers are on board. The agency previously issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) that provides information and recommendations for airlines to evaluate regulatory implications and safety risks when transporting only cargo inside the passenger cabin of an airplane.


5/11/2020

Updated guidance for air carriers and crews to include additional information from the CDC on virus symptoms

The FAA has updated SAFO 20009, “COVID-19: Updated Interim Occupational Health and Safety Guidance for Air Carriers and Crews,” primarily to add references to the CDC Symptoms of Coronavirus webpage.


5/5/2020

Additional aircraft-overflow-parking guidance for airport operators

FAA has issued additional information and examples for airport operators to use when producing NOTAMs that close runways and/or taxiways to temporarily park aircraft


4/30/2020

FAA Grants Exemption for Certain Air Ambulance Personnel

To ensure the continuity of air ambulance operations, the FAA is granting an exemption to the timeframes for completing recurrent training and testing requirements for certain air ambulance personnel. Operators must fulfill specific requirements to exercise the relief offered in this exemption.


4/29/2020

FAA announces regulatory relief for groups unable to comply with certain training, testing, and checking requirements.

The FAA has published a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) that provides regulatory relief to a wide range of people and operations affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The relief applies to pilots, crew members and other FAA certificate holders including some drone pilots who have been unable to comply with certain training, recency- of-experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the outbreak. It also provides relief to certain people and pilot schools who are unable to meet duration and renewal requirements, including extending the validity period of FAA medical certificates.


4/27/2020

FAA releases list of control towers where hours will be temporarily adjusted

The agency plans to begin making adjustments on Monday, April 27 and complete the process within about a week. View a list of the towers with adjusted hours.


4/22/2020

FAA to temporarily adjust operating hours of approximately 100 control towers

To ensure the continued resiliency of the air traffic control system amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the FAA is planning to temporarily adjust the operating hours of approximately 100 control towers nationwide. Making these adjustments allows for continued safe operations throughout the national airspace system while minimizing health risks to our workforce.

These facilities have seen a significant reduction in flights, especially during the evening and nighttime hours, since the pandemic began. Adjusting the operating hours will further protect our employees and reduce the possibility of temporary tower closures from COVID-19 exposures by ensuring enough controllers are available to staff the facilities during peak hours. It also will enable us to allocate difficult-to-source supplies where they are most needed.

Most of the towers are historically closed at night, during which time the radar facility with oversight assumes the airspace. The FAA expects the adjustments will not have any operational effects. The agency plans to begin adjusting facility hours later this month.

The FAA will continue to monitor traffic volume at all of these facilities and may make future adjustments to operating hours as appropriate.

The FAA previously took steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in air traffic control facilities by establishing separate teams of controllers that stay together throughout the duty week.

Q1: How did the FAA decide on these operating hour adjustments?

A: The FAA has seen a significant reduction in traffic at these facilities and reviewed a number of factors to determine where adjustments were most appropriate and could be implemented while maintaining safe and efficient operations. Criteria considered included: hourly aircraft counts and safety during non-towered times; air carrier, air taxi, and special operations; ability of the workforce to social distance and reduce exposure; savings of supplies; and infrastructure constraints. The FAA will coordinate with stakeholders before making any final decisions.

Q2: What is the criteria to return to normal hours or how will you decide to restore the hours at these towers?

A: The FAA will continually assess the operating environment throughout the National Airspace System (NAS). The FAA will ensure there is adequate staffing to meet traffic needs. As operational traffic counts and our resource factors associated with COVID-19 change, the FAA will make appropriate adjustments consistent with the agency’s mandate to operate the NAS safely and efficiently.

Q3: Is it possible that some of these locations will continue on adjusted hours permanently?

A: Temporary adjustments to operating hours during this COVID-19 public health emergency are not intended to be made permanent.  

Q4: How will DOD/National Guard, medevac, or other specialized flights operate in these circumstances?

A: The FAA considered known special operations in selecting locations for operating hour adjustments. FAA facility operating schedules have always varied throughout the NAS. During the hours that a control tower is closed, DOD, National Guard, and other aircraft will receive services by the overlying radar facility as they do today according to existing FAA procedures. The FAA will continue to facilitate these special operations and will meet the needs of these operators.

Q5: How are you ensuring the highest levels of safety continue?

A: The FAA is working collaboratively with the aviation industry to ensure the highest levels of safety continue where the agency adjusts facility operating hours. The FAA’s safety tools and programs are fully operational and are continually monitoring the NAS. Additionally, we are working with each airport sponsor to understand and evaluate any consequences. The FAA will continue open communication and outreach with industry at all levels to ensure safety remains everyone’s priority.


4/17/2020

Updated Health Guidance for Air Carriers and Crews

The FAA’s Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) provides updated interim health guidance from the CDC that air carriers and crew members should be following during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 


4/16/2020

1:30pm FAA Issues New Cargo Transportation Guidance

The FAA has issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) that provides information and recommendations for airlines to evaluate regulatory implications and safety risks when transporting only cargo inside the passenger cabin of an airplane.

10:00am FAA extends AIP Application Deadlines

The COVID-19 public health emergency has affected airport sponsors’ operations and ability to meet the original 2020 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) deadlines. Therefore, the FAA has extended deadlines to May 4, 2020 to give notice of intent, and to Monday, June 15, 2020 to submit the final grant application. The full notice is available in the federal register.


4/14/2020

3:15pm Drone Use for COVID-19 Response Efforts

The FAA is enabling drone use for COVID-19 response efforts within our existing regulations and emergency procedures. Our  small unmanned aircraft rule (Part 107) and Certificate of Authorization process allow operators to transport goods and certain medical supplies–including test kits, most prescription drugs and, under certain circumstances, blood–provided the flight complies with all provisions of the rule or authorization. The FAA also issues special approvals, some in less than an hour, for flights that support emergency activities and appropriate government, health, or community initiatives. The agency’s Systems Operations Support Center is available 24/7 to process emergency requests. Safety is the top consideration as we review each request.

1:30pm DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announces the award of $10 billion to commercial and general aviation airports from the CARES Act Program

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced the award of approximately $10 billion to commercial and general aviation airports from the Trump Administration's newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Airport Grant Program. The effort will provide unprecedented and immediate relief to American families, workers, and businesses.  


4/13/2020

FAA prepares list of FAQs for CARES Act stakeholders

The FAA has prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) stakeholders may have about the approximately $10 billion in grants for airports under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  


4/9/2020

FAA extends temporary waiver of minimum slot-use requirements through Oct. 24, 2020

The FAA is extending through Oct. 24, 2020 the temporary waiver of minimum slot-use requirements at U.S. airports to help airlines that cancel flights due to the Coronavirus. Under normal circumstances, airlines can lose their slots at congested airports if they don't use them at least 80 percent of the time. The FAA is waiving the 80-percent-use requirement for U.S. and foreign airlines that have affected flights. The FAA initially announced that the relief would be in effect through May 31, 2020.


4/8/2020

9:40pm FAA issues exemption to help protect flight attendants from COVID-19

The FAA issued an exemption to help protect flight attendants from contracting COVID-19. The exemption allows flight attendants to relocate from the seats they would normally occupy so they can observe social distancing. It also excuses them from having to demonstrate the use of certain emergency equipment including life preservers and oxygen masks, allowing for alternative methods to inform passengers regarding the use of such equipment. Individual carriers must submit a Letter of Intent and be granted authorization by the FAA in order to exercise the relief in the exemption, which runs through June 30, 2020.

4:00pm FAA implements flexible air traffic control schedule

The FAA is taking steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in air traffic control facilities. Each air traffic control facility is establishing separate teams of controllers that will stay together throughout the duty week. Each crew will contain the same employees, limiting the possibility of cross-exposure to COVID-19 that would come through normal shift rotations. If a person on one team gets sick, the only people who would be exposed are the other people on that team. These steps, along with existing contingency plans, further enhance the resiliency of the FAA’s air traffic control system.


4/4/2020

FAA releases updated guidance for Airport Sponsors and CARES ACT FAQs


4/3/2020 11:00am

The FAA issued guidance to FAA inspectors about factors to consider when determining whether to:


3/31/2020 7:00pm

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award approximately $10 billion in funds to commercial and general aviation airports from the Trump Administration’s newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Airport Program.

The funds will provide economic relief to airports around the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES Act provides funds to increase the federal share to 100 percent for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and supplemental discretionary grants already planned for fiscal year 2020. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs. Providing this additional funding and eliminating the local share will allow critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned regardless of airport sponsors’ current financial circumstances.

Additionally, the CARES Act provides new funds distributed by various formulas for all airports that are part of the national airport system. This includes all commercial service airports, all reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports. 

Under this new CARES Airport Program:

  • Primary commercial service airports, with more than 10,000 annual passenger boardings, will receive additional funds based on the number of annual boardings, in a similar way to how they currently receive AIP entitlement funds.
  • All commercial service airports will receive funds based on the number of passengers that board aircraft there, the amount of debt an airport has, and the amount of money the airport has in reserve.
  • General aviation airports will receive funds based on their airport categories, such as National, Regional, Local, Basic and Unclassified. 

The FAA plans to make these funds available in April, and airport sponsors should work with their local Office of Airports field office. The FAA will provide additional guidance on the CARES Airport Program next week.


3/31/2020 4:40pm

FAA Announces Additional Pilot Medical Certificate Exemptions

The FAA is granting an exemption that extends until June 30, 2020, the duration of medical certificates for certain pilots and flight engineers who conduct scheduledand on-demandoperations outside the United States if those medical certificates expire between March 31, 2020, and May 31, 2020.

COVID-19 is placing a severe burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Requiring pilots to undergo in-person medical examinations would further stress the healthcare system, and would increase the risk of transmitting the virus through personal contact between the doctor and the applicant. The FAA last week issued a policy stating it will not take enforcement action (PDF) against certain pilots or flight engineers who fly domestically with medical certificates that expire between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020.


3/30/2020

FAA announces additional COVID-19 guidance on drug and alcohol testing, air transport restrictions and airport closures and restrictions.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

The FAA has issued guidance to companies whose drug and alcohol testing programs are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. DOT guidance can be viewed at www.transportation.gov.

Guidance for States, Localities, and Territories Considering Air Transportation Restrictions

The FAA has prepared guidance for states, localities, and territories that have implemented or may consider implementing quarantine, travel restrictions, and screening requirements on individuals entering from certain locations within the United States and territories. The guidance states there should be coordination with aviation stakeholders 48 hours before a restriction is imposed; air transportation workers, federal aviation and security personnel are exempt from any restrictions; and no measure can be taken to close a federally funded airport without FAA approval.

Guidance for Airport Sponsors Considering Airport Closures or Restrictions

The FAA has prepared guidance for airport sponsors contemplating airport closures or restricting airport access at federally funded airports. The FAA wants airport sponsors to closely review and understand what the guidance allows them to do, what they cannot do, and what they should consider before taking any action. In any instance, the FAA must be notified and approve any airport closure.


3/27/2020

FAA Takes Steps to Address the Effects of COVID-19 on the Aviation Industry

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proactively taking steps to help address the widespread economic and health effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the aviation industry. The FAA continues to evaluate a large number of requests from across all aviation industry sectors to help address COVID-19-related effects.

To date, the FAA has taken the following actions:

Air Traffic Control Facilities

The FAA is temporarily closing and thoroughly cleaning air traffic control facilities where employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Every air traffic control facility in the country has a contingency plan (PDF) to keep air traffic moving safely when events impede normal operations. In some cases, this means transferring duties to adjacent facilities.

Air Carrier Training Exemptions

The FAA granted certain training exemptions to scheduled and on-demand air carriers due to the unprecedented circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The exemptions give operators grace periods for completing certain training and qualification requirements, and give crewmembers relief from having to don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks in training, checking, or evaluation. The exemptions can be viewed at https://www.regulations.gov/. The docket numbers are FAA-2020-0291; FAA-2020-0292; FAA-2020-0307; and FAA-2020-0308.

Pilot Medical Certificates

The FAA will not take enforcement action against certain pilots or flight engineers who fly with medical certificates that expire between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020. COVID-19 is placing a severe burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Requiring pilots to undergo in-person medical examinations would further stress the healthcare system, and would increase the risk of transmitting the virus through personal contact between the doctor and the applicant.

Airport Slot-Use Waivers

The FAA is temporarily waiving minimum slot-use requirements at U.S. airports to help airlines that cancel flights due to the Coronavirus. Under normal circumstances, airlines can lose their slots at congested airports if they don’t use them at least 80 percent of the time. The FAA is waiving the 80-percent-use requirement through May 31, 2020 for U.S. and foreign airlines that have affected flights, and is proposing to extend the waiver through Oct. 24, 2020.

FAA Construction Projects

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has temporarily stopped most construction projects at agency facilities to ensure the safety of employees, contractors and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency is continuing projects that are in critical phases and would affect operations or safety if not completed. For now, the FAA is delaying the start of new projects. Design work on future projects will continue.  

Airport Construction Projects

The FAA is working with airport sponsors across the country to determine the impacts COVID-19 is having on current and planned airport construction. Airport sponsors and the FAA will review all executed Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants and determine which projects are safety critical, phase of the project, estimated length of project delay, additional costs if the project is delayed, and impacts to overall airport or system operations. The FAA will identify how it may be able prioritize safety-critical projects through funding or process adjustments. The FAA and airport sponsors will work collaboratively to do whatever is reasonably possible to avoid delays in project construction and reduce the delay time when possible. Once a project is ready for construction, the airport owner is responsible for completing construction. 

Airport Improvement Program 

The FAA is working to ensure there are no delays awarding Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds for 2020 because of COVID-19. Employees with the FAA’s Office of Airports are in constant contact with airport sponsors to award all appropriated AIP funds by September 30, 2020. The FAA has worked to automate the AIP process, which enables employees to work remotely and continue to process AIP grants under the current circumstances. 

Temporary Parking of Overflow Aircraft 

The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to flight reductions throughout the airline industry. As a result, the FAA issued CertAlert #20-02 Temporary Parking of Overflow Aircraft, for airport operators who are working with airlines on temporary parking plans for their aircraft. The CertAlert contains a list of recommendations an airport operator should consider when making decisions for overflow aircraft parking. To maintain the highest level of safety, the FAA is working with airport operators to ensure additional safety mitigations are put in place for temporary parking of aircraft. 

Airport Safety Inspections

The FAA’s airport certification safety inspections will continue within required timeframes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport certification safety inspectors will complete inspections by September 30, 2020, as required by Part 139 and FAA Order 5280-5D. There will be no impact to safety. The inspections will be conducted using social-distancing measures to protect both FAA and airport personnel.

Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools

The FAA is working with staff and students at Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools (AMTS) to allow greater flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAA’s guidance to AMTS allows deviations from FAA policy on class schedules, electronic delivery of assignments, and the maximum number of absences. Each AMTS school is affected differently, and the FAA is addressing any deviation from policy or regulation on a case-by-case basis. 

COVID-19 Information 

The FAA is posting extensive information about COVID-19 on its website and on social media. Follow us on Twitter @FAANews, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for updates. 

Sharing Heath Safety Messages

The FAA is amplifying health safety messages from other federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Management Agency, Department of State and Department of Homeland Security.

Pilot Oxygen Mask Requirements

The FAA has amended its cockpit oxygen-mask regulation to reduce the potential for pilots to be exposed to any pathogens that may be on the masks. The amendment fulfills the requirement of Section 579 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. 

Expanded Drone Operations

The FAA has received inquiries about expanded drone operations to respond to COVID-19. We are addressing the inquiries using our existing Part 135 on-demand certification process. Follow us on Twitter @FAADroneZone and Facebook @FAADroneZonefor the latest drone news.

Puerto Rico Flight Restriction Request 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved certain requirements for passenger flights to Puerto Rico to help with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All scheduled and unscheduled commercial air carrier flights will be required to land at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) where public health officials will screen arriving passengers. This includes air carriers that operate under Part 121 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. All domestic and foreign general aviation and charter flights arriving from a location outside Puerto Rico will be required to land first at SJU, Isla Grande Airport (SIG) or Rafael Hernandez Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla for passenger screening before continuing to their final destinations. The restrictions do not apply to air cargo or maintenance flights into Puerto Rico.


3/24/2020

CDC Adds More Countries to Level 3 Nonessential Travel Listing

The CDC has expanded their Level 3 nonessential travel notice to include Australia, countries in South America, parts of Asia and the Middle East. These countries are experiencing widespread transmission of the respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19).  The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all countries in the below list.   

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Japan
  • Israel
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Turkey

Travelers returning from these countries should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.


3/23/2020

Only Rely on Official Sources for Accurate COVID-19 Information

Due to the large amount of speculation regarding COVID-19, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reminding everyone to rely on OFFICIAL sources for accurate information. You can help control the spread of rumors by sharing FEMA’s web page with your friends, family and colleagues. 

Additional Information


3/20/2020

FAA Statement on COVID-19 cases at FAA Facilities

Like much of the country, the Federal Aviation Administration is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases at air traffic facilities and other offices across the nation.

Despite the challenges, our commitment to safety will not waver.

Our air traffic system is resilient and flexible. Every air traffic control facility in the country has a contingency plan to keep air traffic moving safely when events impede normal operations. In some cases, this means transferring duties to adjacent facilities.

Air traffic controllers, technicians and safety inspectors are highly trained professionals who play critical roles in safely and efficiently moving tens of thousands of aircraft and millions of passengers — 24 hours a day, every day.

Our agency’s mission is to operate the world’s largest and most complex airspace system. But we have an equal obligation to ensure the health and safety of our employees.

Each disruption has a distinct impact on the air traffic system. We are experiencing this at the handful of facilities already affected by COVID-19. This is frustrating and inconvenient, but is necessary in the interest of safety.

We will do our best to keep the public abreast of a rapidly changing situation. Passengers can check fly.faa.gov for real-time updates about how the air traffic system is performing.

We appreciate the public’s support and patience.


3/19/2020

Department of State advises U.S. Citizens to avoid all international travel due to COVID-19.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

For more information, review the full advisory.


3/17/2020

CDC Expands Virus-Related Travel Advisory to UK and Ireland

The CDC updated their Level 3 Travel Health Notice to include the United Kingdom and Ireland. The United Kingdom is experiencing widespread ongoing transmission of respiratory illness caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19). Because the United Kingdom shares an open border with the Republic of Ireland (Ireland), CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all countries in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

Affected countries include:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland (Ireland)

Travelers returning from the United Kingdom or Ireland should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. Please review the latest about Level 3 Travel Health Notices.


3/15/2020

DHS Outlines New Process for Americans Returning from Certain European Countries, China, and Iran

In order to help prevent the spread of travel-related cases of coronavirus in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions outlining the process for American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home after recently visiting certain European countries, China, and Iran.

These European countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Effective for flights taking off at 11:59 PM EDT on Friday, March 13th, Americans returning from all restricted countries will now be required to travel through the following 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia 

Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities. Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.

In order to ensure compliance, local and State public health officials will contact individuals in the days and weeks following their arrival.

Additional Information


3/13/2020

Coronavirus Travel Advisories Expanded to Include Most of Europe

CDC has expanded its Level-3 travel advisory and now recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to most countries in EuropeSee the full list of countries.


3/9/2020

Guidance for Travelers from Countries with Widespread Sustained (Ongoing) Transmission Arriving in the United States

To slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into the United States, CDC is working with state and local public health partners to implement after-travel health precautions.

Depending on your travel history, you will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice).

Countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (widespread, ongoing transmission):

  • China
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea

Take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day to monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
  3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  4. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  5. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

Download the CDC’s COVID-19 Traveler Information Card.


3/5/2020

Air travel plans may be affected by the virus. Check with your airline before heading to the airport.

The evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation may impact your air travel plans. Many airlines have posted travel alerts for passengers on their websites and have instituted flexible travel policies. Please check with your airline about the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. The following links are to airline-specific flight status updates:


3/3/2020

CDC Recommends Travelers Avoid All Nonessential Travel to Italy

The State Department and CDCrecommend avoiding all nonessential travel to Italy due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Travel advisoriesrelated to the virus now include the following countries:

  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • China
  • Iran

The CDC has established an interactive map with country-specific travel health information about the virus. Travelers can also sign up to receive email updates about the virus on this same CDC webpage.


2/23/2020

Travel Advisories for South Korea and Japan

The State Department and CDC recommend travelers exercise increased caution when traveling to South Korea and Japan due to the virus. 

The CDC also recommends that high risk travelers to South Korea and Japanexercise special precautions. 

Travelers should also enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts and updates while traveling.


2/2/2020

Guidance from the CDC on What the Public, Air Carriers and Crews Can Do

The current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus originated in China but has now spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries. In the coming days and weeks, we expect more confirmed cases in the United States, including more person-to-person spread.

The goal of an aggressive ongoing public health response is to prevent spread of this virus in the community in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide the following guidance to the public:

What You Should Do

  • Stay informed – CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public. (www.cdc.gov/ncov)
  • Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. CDC recommends routine preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

These actions include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

CDC also has specific guidance for travelers.

The federal government has our best people working on this problem. And we have one of the strongest public health systems in the world.

What You Should Not Do 

  • CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks for the general public. This virus is not spreading in the community. While it is cold and flu season, we don’t routinely recommend the use of facemasks by the public to prevent respiratory illness a
  • Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=94991