The Greek airline AEGEAN is to test its cabin crew for COVID-19 every 15 days as part of what it describes as “additional precautionary measures” to protect passengers and employees from the novel Coronavirus. Molecular testing has already got underway at its bases in Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion and will be extended to other employees in operational roles.
A number of other airlines have already announced similar initiatives, including fellow European airline Iberia which is testing all 15,000 of its employees, although testing remains voluntary and staffers can opt-out of the programme if they wish.
Perhaps the biggest airline testing programme to date, however, is taking place at Delta Air Lines where as many 90,000 employees will be offered both an antibody test and the standard PCR antigen test to confirm whether they have either already had COVID-19 or are currently infected with the virus.
Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said the testing programme would help build a baseline of how many many of its employees have been infected and from there it may be able to provide better protections for employees and passengers. Around 500 Delta workers are known to have had COVID-19 and 10 employees have tragically died.
“Our people are our strength, which is why protecting their health is always our utmost priority,” explained Panos Nicolaidis, AEGEAN’s director of ground operations. “From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, following the guidelines of the State and the competent authorities, we implemented enhanced health measures at all stages of the travel journey and initiated additional precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our passengers and employees.”
In March, Emirates is believed to have become the first airline to carry out widespread COVID-19 testing of its cabin crew and pilots, with flight crew expected to undergo a test after every flight that landed back in Dubai. The airline has since phased out that policy but tourists and residents must have a negative test certificate before being allowed to enter Dubai.
Emirates also requires passengers from certain high-risk countries to submit a negative COVID-19 test certificate before being allowed to board an aircraft.
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.