The Spanish flag carrier Iberia will offer COVID-19 antibody tests for all 17,000 of its employees as they slowly start to return to work over the coming weeks and months. Spain has eased a strict national lockdown in recent days as part of efforts to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. The country is one of the worst affected in Europe having recorded over 25,000 deaths from COVID-19 according to figures from John Hopkins University.
In May, Iberia plans to test around 2,500 employees from its airport, maintenance and crew divisions. By the end of 2020, the airline says it hopes to have tested its entire workforce – although the test will be voluntary and employees can opt out if they choose to.
Those employees who take part will actually be offered three tests in total – one when they first return to work, a second 15-days later and a final test a month after that. In addition, employees who return after being ill with COVID-19 will be offered a traditional PCR test – one that can tell if someone has the virus right now.
Iberia will also make these tests available to employees who test positive for the active virus during their anti-body test, as well as employees who have had contact with anyone found to be infected.
In recent day, Spain’s Ministry of Health has made the wearing of face masks by passengers and crew mandatory – a move that is being enforced by an increasing number of airlines either voluntarily or because of local laws to prevent in-flight Coronavirus infection.
Iberia says it is also looking at the idea of temperature screening staff before they are allowed to start work, while safety screens at airport check-in counters have already been introduced. Onboard its flights, service has been simplified and dramatically cut back to reduce interaction between passengers and crew, while blankets, pillows and magazines have been removed from many flights.
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.