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Mon, 24 August 2020

Air New Zealand Outlines Measures Taken in Fight Against COVID19

After an Air New Zealand stewardess was accused of breaking Level 3 lockdown restrictions last week, the airline has outlined all the precautions it is taking to protect the people of New Zealand in its fight against COVID19.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Greg Foran, said, "We understand the government is considering options for improvements to their current testing regime and we are completely supportive of this. The protocols we currently have in place to prevent staff from contracting COVID19 have been established in conjunction with the Ministry of Health. We know these have been working because since early April, we haven't had a case of COVID19 in the airline. However, we acknowledge that all systems and processes should be regularly reviewed, and we are committed to working with government to do even more to protect our staff, customers and New Zealanders from COVID19."

Air New Zealand currently takes different measures on different flights, depending on whether the destination is deemed low, medium or high risk:

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner reg: ZK-NZK. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

On all flights

Crew wear masks and gloves when interacting with passengers; and
Crew wear full PPE when dealing with unwell passengers.

For medium risk layovers, including Narita, Hong Kong, Shanghai:

Air crew wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal;
Air crew use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers;
Air crew isolate in hotels, limiting trips outside to 1hr per 24-hour period;
Air crew are not allowed to use the hotel gym or pool while on layover; and
Air crew are not allowed to meet with other crew while on layover.

For high risk layovers San Francisco and Los Angeles:

Air crew wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal;
Air crew use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers;
Air crew isolate in hotels for duration of layover;
Air crew are not allowed to use the hotel gym or pool while on layover;
Air crew are not allowed to meet with other crew while on layover;
All food must be delivered to rooms; and
On return home, air crew must isolate for 48 hours, complete a COVID19 test, then isolate until test results are known.

Additional measures

In addition to the Ministry of Health measures outlined above, Air New Zealand has also put in place a range of its own measures, including:

Segregating A320 crew so they do not operate both internationally and domestically;

Cleaning the aircraft with antiviral products approved for use by aircraft manufacturers and the WHO;

Providing hand sanitiser on board and in airports for customer use;

Requiring passengers on board domestic and international services to wear masks, replaced every 3-4 hours on long haul flights;

Ensuring aircrew have multiple channels through which to raise concerns; and

Strongly encouraging Auckland Airport-based staff to be tested in response to the recent outbreak in Auckland. This has resulted in huge numbers of staff presenting for voluntary tests.

In addition to the New Zealand Government's requirements, several international destinations require COVID-19 testing of aircrew before departure, on arrival, or both. This includes prior to operating flights to Hong Kong, China and Samoa.

"Tackling COVID19 is a team effort and we want to ensure we're doing our part to help minimise the spread and keep our communities safe," said Mr Foran. "It's fair to say our pilots and cabin crew have borne the brunt of the impact of COVID19, on a very personal level. This has tremendous impact on their everyday life and wellbeing. As does having to self-isolate back at home upon returning from higher risk destinations. This causes disconnection from family, friends and everyday activities. To be clear, most of our international destinations have strict protocols in place to ensure crew are not exposed to COVID19 during their layover. Any crew who are symptomatic, or who have had to break isolation offshore to seek medical attention, for example, must enter quarantine on return to New Zealand. Our crew take their responsibility of keeping themselves, their colleagues and our customers safe very seriously. We stand with them and appreciate what they are doing to return people to their homes and get our economy moving again."

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, Air New Zealand, Cabin Crew.

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