In his first public appearance since being named British Airways’ new CEO last week, this morning (October 19, 2020) Sean Doyle gave the keynote address at Airlines 2050: Beyond the Crisis, telling the industry that British Airways continues to play a crucial part in connecting Britain with the world and the world with Britain and is doing everything in its power to emerge from this crisis.
Mr Doyle said the airline believes the risk to public health of flying is low after the industry body IATA suggested that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of COVID-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled.
Mr Doyle continued: “The safety of its customers and crew is always our priority, and we are taking every safety measure to keep our customers safe. This is a multi-faceted approach and includes minimising contact, sanitising our aircraft from nose to tail and asking customers and crew to wear face masks at all times, unless they have a medical exemption. In the cabin, air is completely replaced every 2 to 3 minutes, passing through HEPA filters which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over a 99.9 per cent efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.”
And he confirmed that British Airways does not believe quarantine is the long-term solution, saying: “We believe the best way to reassure people is to introduce a reliable and affordable test before flying. For the UK this approach reduces the stress on NHS testing systems within the UK and on policing the quarantine system.”
Editor’s opinion: About bloody time British Airways made a stand for something like this. Britain cannot have an international tourism industry again until there is easy, safe, and secure pre-travel COVID tests so people can avoid the current mandatory 14-day quarantine.