Italy – New Disinsection Procedures for US Flights

By Chris Shieff

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Recently, an OPSGROUP member reported a fuss on arrival at LIRA/Rome from the US over disinsection procedures. Turns out their aircraft needed to be sprayed – a process that local agents appeared thoroughly confused about.

This was completed by the crew, but the Italian Health Department later said not good enough and they were required to arrange a cleaning company to do this for them at considerable delay and cost the next day.

We did some digging, and it turns out there are indeed some new (and pretty specific) procedures that now apply to US operators – along with a healthy dose of the rest of the world – due to concerns about mosquito borne illnesses. You’ll save yourself a headache (no pun intended) if you can get it right the first time.

Here’s what we know.

New Procedures

Health authorities now require one of two things on arrival, depending on where your aircraft has been in the past 28 days:

  • Aircraft been in an affected country = a disinsection certificate (aircraft sprayed)
  • Aircraft NOT been in an affected country = an aircraft declaration

Check this list to see what applies to your aircraft. This is the list of countries, according to WHO, with current or previous Zika virus transmission. This seems to be the source that the Italian authorities are referencing when they talk about “affected countries” – it seems a bit odd that they’re doing this, because this list was last updated by WHO all the way back in Feb 2023, but 🤷.

Disinsection Certificate

If your aircraft has been in an affected country in the past 28 days (which includes the US), you’ll need to show a Residual Disinsection Certificate.

This should be in line with ICAO Annex 9, Appendix 4 – you basically get the cabin sprayed with insecticide, and get a certificate which is valid for 8 weeks (i.e. the slime sticks around and kills any mozzies for this period of time).

⬆️ This is what Italy wants you to do. Spray the cabin in the US (or wherever else) with the heavy duty stuff, get your certificate, and show it to them on arrival. And in theory, it sounds like a nice easy option. The only problem is that you can’t do this in the US – according to the US Environmental Protection Agency who say so here.

So if you can’t get this whole thing done in advance, option#2 is this: when you land in Italy they will do a mandatory spray of your aircraft – but this might take time to arrange through your handler and could cause delays.

Declaration

If your aircraft has not been in an affected country, you will need to submit a declaration instead.

The requirements are quite specific. You don’t need to spray, but you’ll need to list every country your aircraft has been in the last 28 days (including any transit stops).

This must be emailed to the Italian Health Authority office at your point of entry at least twelve hours before you land.

This should be on your company’s letterhead, and signed by a manager. If possible, include a version in both English and Italian.

Here is the example template Universal Italy put together.

Show me the official guidance

Welcome to Operation Confusion. Of the four local handling agents we reached out to, not one could actually direct us to the ‘official’ announcement from the Italian authorities they were referring to. Officially for us, this was highly frustrating.

The advice above is our best attempt to streamline the process, based on the recent experience of OPSGROUP members and all available information.

If you can find something official, please send it to us on team@ops.group.

Crew Reports

LIML/Milan Linate: We had to proceed with disinsection (organized by the FBO). The process lasted 30 mins with a requirement of having all aircraft doors closed for one hour. They accepted to postpone until the crew was ready to leave. Expect a light greasy deposit on the furnitures. No odour.

LIPE/Bologna: We did two trips into LIPE this week, hardly a mention of any spraying. I gave them a letter saying I treated with AeroSafe, presented 3 empty canisters and requested our ship not be sprayed. Our aircraft was not sprayed on either trip into LIPE.

Keep an eye out for new requirements elsewhere too

Dengue, in particular, seems to be in the outbreak stage of its cycle. Zika virus is also showing signs that things may soon get worse again.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) provide the most up-to-date information on active outbreaks of these kinds of illnesses. If you have layovers in affected countries, it is highly recommended you keep an eye on things – both for your own health, and for potential impact to your operation.

If you do experience new procedures, please let us know so we can pass that info to the rest of the group.

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Chris Shieff

Chris Shieff

OPSGROUP team member and Airbus pilot. Based in sunny Auckland, New Zealand. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

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