Saturday, 13 June 2020

Dutch PM has no problem with completely full aircraft, as risk of infection really limited!

The Government in the Netherlands has confirmed it has no plans to halt the spread of COVID-19 by restricting the number of passengers allowed on flights. However, it would follow public health agency RIVM's advice and make face masks a requirement for anyone at Dutch airports and on Dutch-owned or operated aircraft.  

Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a press conference that he would have no problem flying in a full aircraft and the risk of infection in and aircraft was very small.  "In the past, investigations have also been carried out into someone who once had Ebola and even vomited on an aeroplane that did not infect anyone. So the risks are really limited," Rutte said. "We have said, on the advice of the RIVM, that we still have to wear a mask. You just have to do that, because you are on that plane for a long time sometimes three, four hours."

Face masks are now to become compulsory for passengers using Dutch airports the government said, following advice from the RIVM. A level of protection that is not afforded to school children who returned to lessons last week little or no protection or precautions.

The Royal Dutch airline, KLM' responded with a full statement:

“From the beginning, KLM has taken precautionary measures to ensure that it can conduct its operations safely, comfortably and responsibly. The recommendations issued by the Netherlands health authorities RIVM confirm that it is safe to fly. KLM’s flights meet the highest standards of safety and hygiene.

Social distancing is not always possible aboard an aircraft. KLM has provided extra protection for passengers and crew by taking a wide array of measures. The health of all on board is our chief priority. 

Since 11 May, passengers and crew aboard all KLM flights wear face masks (covering mouth and nose), thereby further reducing the minor risks.

Our aircraft will be cleaned even more regularly and contact moments will be kept to a minimum.

KLM has also take various measures before and after boarding at Schiphol. This includes clear communication on social distancing at check in, gates and service/transfer desks. Various services can now only be paid by debit or credit card. Boarding procedures have also been adjusted. KLM will screen passengers for specific flights, with measures differing per destination, ranging from a declaration of health to temperature measurement. This varies depending on laws at the passenger’s destination.

KLM aircraft are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, ensuring high-quality, clean cabin air that is regularly circulated. The air in the cabin is replaced every three minutes by the aircraft’s air-conditioning system, with airflows circulating top-down, thereby even further reducing the chance of “horizontal” transmission.

Furthermore, passengers all sit facing in the same direction, which means there is little face-to-face interaction, with seat backs forming a barrier that prevents forward and backward transmission in the cabin.

KLM maintains daily contact with the Netherland authorities, with health specialists attached to the WHO, ECDC and RIVM, as well as the air transport bodies IATA and EASA.”

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