Ebola fears hit airline industry

Ebola fears hit airline industry
By admin


News that a health care worker diagnosed with Ebola flew on a plane full of passengers has raised fear among airline investors that the scare over the virus could cause travellers to avoid flying.

Health officials have downplayed the possibility that any of the 132 passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth could have become infected. The crew reported that the health care worker showed no symptoms during the flight.

Still, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the woman should not have flown on a commercial flight. Public-health officials were notifying the passengers.

In hoping to minimise any effect from Ebola, the airline industry is banking on assurances from health experts that the virus is spread only in the bodily fluids of someone already showing symptoms, and the presumption that someone that sick would not be physically able to travel.

Tony Tyler, CEO of the International Air Transport Association trade group, said Ebola was unlikely to reduce travel.

"You can't rule out that worry about this disease could cause a drop in traffic," he told reporters in San Diego. "My personal view is that is unlikely."

Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive, said that if the health care worker showed no symptoms on her Frontier flight, the decision to notify other passengers was made out of extra caution.

"But all that rational thought aside, it may cause some people to delay trips," he said.

Dr Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, said it was extremely unlikely that passengers could contract the disease because the health care worker was not vomiting or bleeding. But, he said, she should not have been on the flight because of the possibility that she had been exposed to Ebola and that she had a slightly elevated fever.

"By both of those criteria, she should not have been on that plane," Frieden said on a call with reporters.

Frontier said Flight 1143 was that particular plane's last flight on Monday night, and it was cleaned overnight according to CDC standards before being used Tuesday. It was grounded early Wednesday morning but was expected to be back in flight by day's end, said a spokesman for the airline.

Since the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the US last month, attention has focused mostly on travellers from west Africa, the centre of the epidemic.

The first victim was a Liberian man who flew into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on a United Airlines flight from Washington's Dulles Airport. That case led US officials to expand health screening of passengers from West Africa who arrive at five major airports.

The latest health worker flew on a domestic flight from an airport where there is no screening for fever.

Concern about Ebola and slower growth in the global economy have hurt airlines stocks in recent weeks, offsetting the benefit to airlines from falling fuel prices.

Latest News

  • Cruise

P&O rescues Rotary volunteers after collapse of Air Vanuatu

P&O Cruises Australia has answered a plea for help from a group of young Australian Rotary volunteers, stranded in Vanuatu following the collapse of Air Vanuatu. The students, many of them teenagers from Albury, NSW, were volunteering for a youth project run by the Hive Rotary Club Australia when the airline abruptly cancelled all flights, […]

  • Destinations

Intrepid continues expansions with launch of first DMC in Jordan

Intrepid has increased its presence in the Middle East with the opening of its first destination management company in Jordan. Based in Amman, the local team will operate Intrepid’s range of nine experiential small group tours in Jordan from this summer, with a view to expanding the range for 2025 and beyond. Zina Bencheikh, managing […]

  • Appointments

Minor hotels appoints Puneet Dhawan to key Asia role

Global hotel owner and operator Minor Hotels has appointed Puneet Dhawan as head of Asia as the group plots its growth in Asia and India. From July, Dhawan will be responsible for the performance of all Minor Hotels properties in Asia, working in close collaboration with the Minor Hotels senior leadership team and will report […]

  • Appointments

Abercrombie & Kent and Crystal appoint Evon Ler to director of sales, Asia

Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group have announced that Evon Ler will join them in the new role of director of sales, Asia. She will work closely with Tony Archbold (VP, Sales, APAC, Crystal) and Susan Haberle (VP, Sales & Partnerships, APAC, A&K) with trade support across the region. Ler comes to the A&K family with more […]