The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for U.S. airlines, issued a statement in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement that it has raised its pandemic alert for H1N1 "swine flu" to Phase 6, which indicates that there is sustained human-to-human transmission of a novel influenza virus in multiple countries.
“Today’s announcement by the WHO indicates that the global health community continues to take the situation seriously, but should not be cause for overreaction," ATA said in a statement. "The declaration of a pandemic is triggered by the geographic spread of disease; as WHO has explained pandemics can range from mild to severe. Airlines and their employees continue to follow CDC recommendations and procedures, which include monitoring and reporting any case of communicable disease onboard aircraft.
“We understand that this announcement will not affect CDC and WHO recommendations for travel – neither agency currently suggests that people avoid air travel, unless they are ill," ATA continued. "Of course, everyone should continue to use the common sense precautions provided by the CDC to protect their health and the health of others.”
Additionally, ATA said it will continue to keep the Swine Influenza: Airline Industry Information and Related Links Web page updated with ATA comments and facts, and related government links.