South African Airways (SAA) is taking a number of precautions to protect its customers and crew from contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus while flying.
SAA said that it follows procedures, advice and guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), civil aviation authorities as well as the airports and customs authorities’ directives to ensure the safety of its customers.
“The safety, health and well-being of our customers and crew is a number one priority,” it said.
“We assess all our passengers and advise that if they are feeling ill, they need to follow recommendations offered by medical professionals.”
It added that it taking the following steps to protect travellers:
- To clean the aircraft, SAA uses the disinfectants which have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are effective against the Covid-19 (coronavirus);
- The cleaning protocols its teams use to clean aircraft have been intensified and focus among, other things, on high frequent touch-points such as handles, seat belt buckles, tray tables and armrests;
- Hard surfaces such as lavatories, galley units and window shades are thoroughly cleaned with multi-purpose cleaners;
- The Airbus fleet is equipped with state-of-the-art, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that sift out and remove dust, bacteria, allergens and other unhygienic particles;
- SAA crew have been trained to handle situations involving communicable diseases or any other medical emergencies onboard and they work closely with the ground and inflight expert medical assistance;
- All aircraft are loaded with bio-hazardous spill kits in case of a contamination event (or to handle a contamination event) and cleaning materials.
SAA said that although it is following customs limits and guidelines, passengers are welcome to travel with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
It added that SAA crew use officially approved and industry recognised disinfectants on all flights. Cabin crew (Flight attendants) use gloves sanctioned by the food industry.
“The airline uses sanitation procedures for all domestic, regional and international flights. Should a passenger show any respiratory symptoms on board, i.e. coughing, sneezing, our crew will provide a surgical mask to the passenger to prevent transmission of micro-organisms.
“Should health authorities inform the airline that a person who travelled with SAA exhibited coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft will be taken out of service and put through a decontamination process,” it said.