Sixteen Air France flight attendants and three pilots have been grounded after operating a flight together where a passenger was found to be suffering from the Coronavirus. The crew members have not been placed into quarantine but won’t be allowed to return to work until the 14-day incubation period has come to an end.
“As a precautionary measure and pending instructions from the Directorate General of Health concerning these crew members, they saw their flight program temporarily changed,” a spokesperson for Air France has said of the crew members situation.
They are allowed to continue living at home and don’t have to self-quarantine but have been told what measures to take should any of the novel Coronavirus symptoms start developing.
The flight attendants and pilots had been working on Air France flight AF116 from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Shanghai Pudong on January 27, just days before the French flag carrier suspended flights to the city. Onboard the Boeing 777-200 was a sick passenger who was later confirmed to have the Coronavirus.
“The sick passenger having worn a mask during the entire flight, the risk of contamination is considered to be very low,” a spokesperson for Air France explained, although it was decided to immediately repatriate the crew to France without them ever stepping foot off the plane.
Other passengers on the flight were not contacted by health authorities according to the airline because the risk was deemed so low.
A union source, however, has told local media that they would like to see the crew members quarantined and those onboard the two flights to undergo a medical assessment.
Air France suspended all flights to mainland China on 31st January after “careful consideration” of the developing situation concerning the Coronavirus. The last flights to operate to Beijing and Shanghai the day prior was staffed with volunteer flight attendants and pilots.
The airline had previously suspended direct flights to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, on January 22nd.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.