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01-12-2005
CDC Propose Rule to Modernize Communicable Disease Control
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an NPRM meant to slow the spread of emerging contagious diseases, such as pandemic flu. The proposal offers the first significant changes in quarantine rules in 25 years and CDC estimated implementation costs up to $865 million annually. The new rules would broaden the definition of reportable illnesses; centralize reporting to the federal government; require airlines operating out of major airports and international cruise operators to keep passenger manifests electronically for 60 days; include provisions for maintaining privacy of health information; clarify the appeals process for quarantined individuals; and authorise health officials to offer vaccination, drugs and other means of prevention on a voluntary basis to those in quarantine. The proposals require airlines to establish a system that includes a written plan to ensure significant illness or death onboard is reported to the CDC and for periodic drills to ensure the plan works. In response to the proposals, ATA said, “There no doubt is a need to update the current regulations to ensure the absolute safety of our passengers and employees. To what extent changes need to be made to existing practices will be done cooperatively with the CDC through this proposed rule making.” The NPRM is open for public comment for 60 days from November 23, 2005.

Extracted from Greenberg Traurig, LLP / Attorneys at Law - December 2005

08-11-2005
Traveller shot dead by air marshals after bomb threat
Air marshals shot dead an American passenger yesterday when he claimed to have a bomb in his backpack.

The incident was the first of its kind since the September 11 terrorist attacks caused a huge increase in airline security.

Rigoberto Alpizar, 44, a UC citizen of Costa Rican origin, was shot a Miami international airport after boarding an American Airlines flight to Orlando.

06-11-2005
THE COMOFT ZONE THAT’S EASIER ON YOUR LEGS…. AND WALLET
The Craft Traveller – By Fred Mawer

Recently, I spent a few days in Hong Kong. The flight from the UK takes nearly 12 hours. Had I flown economy, the chances are that I’d have been too exhausted to have functioned effectively at the business dinner I attended soon after landing – and I wouldn’t have achieved much on my first day back at the office, either.

01-11-2005
EPA in Drinking Water Agreements with 24 U.S. Airlines
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached settlements with 11 major and 13 other U.S. airlines to ensure safety of onboard drinking water. In 2004, an EPA investigation of 327 U.S. and foreign planes at 19 airports found total coli form contamination in drinking water in 15% of aircraft. Total coli form is an indicator that other disease-causing organisms could be in the water and potentially affect health. The settlements require airlines to regularly monitor aircraft water systems, notify EPA and the public when tests reveal contamination, and regularly disinfect aircraft water systems and water transfer equipment. The orders also require each airline to study possible sources of contamination from outside the aircraft. EPA is developing regulations for water served onboard aircraft.
01-11-2005
EU to Impose Aid to Passengers with Mobility Problems
EU transport ministers agreed on measures to oblige airports to provide free help to passengers with mobility problems, such as those in wheelchairs, with costs being passed on to airlines. Ministers also agreed to ban airlines from discriminating against passengers with reduced mobility by refusing reservations or boarding, except for security reasons or practical problems related to the boarding of small aircraft. Passengers kept form boarding should be offered another flight at no extra cost or their full money back. The proposals now go the European Parliament. In related news, Ryanair ordered nine blind and partially sighted passengers off a plane shortly before take-off, telling them they would have to arrange their own accommodation and would not be given money for food. Ryanair said the flight had exceeded its quota of four disabled people; company practice limits the number of disabled passengers to the number of crew able to assist them in an emergency.

01-11-2005
World Readies for Potential Spread of Bird Flu
Amid global concern about an avian flu strain that can infect humans and potentially spread rapidly via airplane passengers, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed an Emergency Response Plan to assist airlines in the event of an outbreak. The measures are aligned with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Influenza Preparedness Plan. In the U.S., Congress directed DOT to establish response procedures at U.S. airports with incoming flights from countries that have had cases of avian flu and with air carriers that provide such flights. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has added nine quarantine stations to U.S. international airports since the 2003 SARS outbreak for a total of 17, said it would not quarantine passengers suspected of having bird flu unless the disease starts to spread among humans and threatens to become an epidemic. At least 60 people in Asia have died from bird flu acquired by contact with sick birds. The virus now has made its way to Europe.




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