The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) has warned airlines to "step up" their response to passenger health concerns. An ECAC working group has been set up to report within six months on the action needed. If the industry fails to act on passenger health, ECAC predicts, medical incidents affecting passengers will increase.

Medical experts from the 38 member states of ECAC, ordered by the organisation's directors general, met in Dubrovnik, Croatia, at the end of October to "review the issue of passenger health in air travel and to identify action to be taken". They decided that "unless supplementary efforts are made, medical incidents affecting passengers in flight would rise". The growth in air travel, particularly in long-distance journeys, and the increasing numbers of older people flying make passenger health an industry imperative, says ECAC. Recommendations include:

developing and sharing scientific knowledge of in-flight medical incidents; developing common practice, particularly in on-board medical supplies and equipment, cabin crew training, air/ground communications and aircraft design; establishing the legal status of a doctor who volunteers to provide emergency assistance in flight; improving passenger information before travel; setting up an ECAC working group of all parties involved that would examine how the objectives could best be achieved and report on progress within six months.

ECAC says it will co-ordinate its actions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Source: Flight International