Aviation

British Airways’ new CEO calls for urgent introduction of pre-flight COVID-19 testing

The newly appointed boss of British Airways (BA) has urged aviation players and destinations to introduce pre-departure testing of travellers for COVID-19 to help the sector recover faster.

In his first appearance as BA’s chief executive since taking over from Alex Cruz, Sean Doyle told those tuning in to the Airlines 2050 webinar yesterday that the airline doesn’t believe quarantining passengers is a viable long-term solution.

“We believe the best way to reassure people is to introduce a reliable and affordable test before flying,” he said.

“For the UK, this approach reduces the stress on NHS testing systems within the UK and on policing the quarantine system.”

Doyle said BA believes the risk to public health of flying is low after the International Air Transport Association suggested that there have been as few as 44 cases of COVID-19 linked to flights since the start of 2020, with some 1.2 billion passengers having travelled during that same period.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we are taking every safety measure to keep our customers safe,” he said.

“This is a multi-faceted approach and includes minimising contact, sanitising our aircraft from nose to tail, and asking customers and crew to wear face masks at all times, unless they have a medical exemption.

“In the cabin, air is completely replaced every two to three minutes, passing through HEPA filters which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over a 99.9 per cent efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.”

You can Doyle’s speech at Airlines 2050 in full here.

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