Saturday, 22 August 2020

Air New Zealand provides clarity on safety precautions for staff

Air New Zealand is committed to playing its role in protecting New Zealand and the country’s fight against COVID-19.



Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran has spoken with Health Minister Chris Hipkins and outlined the precautions the airline is taking.

“We understand the Government is considering options for improvements to their current testing regime and we are completely supportive of this. The protocols we currently have in place to prevent staff from contracting COVID-19 have been established in conjunction with the Ministry of Health. We know these have been working because since early April, we haven’t had a case of COVID-19 in the airline.

”However, we acknowledge that all systems and processes should be regularly reviewed, and we are committed to working with Government to do even more to protect our staff, customers and New Zealanders from COVID-19"

Air New Zealand has worked closely with Ministry of Health officials in implementing the measures in place today. High, medium or low risk destinations are set by the Ministry of Health and this risk matrix is reviewed regularly.

Measures include:

On all flights

Crew wear masks and gloves when interacting with passengers
Crew wear full PPE when dealing with unwell passengers


For medium risk layovers, including Narita, Hong Kong, Shanghai

Air crew wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal
Air crew use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers
Air crew isolate in hotels, limiting trips outside to 1hr per 24-hour period
Air crew are not allowed to use the hotel gym or pool while on layover
Air crew are not allowed to meet with other crew while on layover


For high risk layovers – San Francisco and Los Angeles

Air crew wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal
Air crew use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers
Air crew isolate in hotels for duration of layover
Air crew are not allowed to use the hotel gym or pool while on layover
Air crew are not allowed to meet with other crew while on layover
All food must be delivered to rooms
On return home, air crew must isolate for 48 hours, complete a COVID-19 test, then isolate until test results are known

Additional measures

In addition to the Ministry of Health measures outlined above, Air New Zealand has also put in place a range of its own measures, including:

Segregating A320 crew so they do not operate both internationally and domestically
Cleaning the aircraft with antiviral products approved for use by aircraft manufacturers and the World Health Organisation
Providing hand sanitiser on board and in airports for customer use
Requiring passengers on board domestic and international services to wear masks, replaced every 3-4 hours on long haul flights
Ensuring aircrew have multiple channels through which to raise concerns
Strongly encouraging Auckland Airport-based staff to be tested in response to the recent outbreak in Auckland. This has resulted in huge numbers of staff presenting for voluntary tests.
Jet aircraft cabins also have hospital operating theatre-grade HEPA filters installed, which filter out viruses.


Foreign government testing requirements

In addition to the New Zealand Government’s requirements, several of our international destinations require COVID-19 testing of aircrew before departure, on arrival, or both.

This includes prior to operating flights to Hong Kong, China and Samoa.

“Tackling COVID-19 is a team effort and we want to ensure we’re doing our part to help minimise the spread and keep our communities safe,” says Mr Foran.

“It’s fair to say our pilots and cabin crew have borne the brunt of the impact of COVID-19, on a very personal level. This has tremendous impact on their everyday life and wellbeing. As does having to self-isolate back at home upon returning from higher risk destinations. This causes disconnection from family, friends and everyday activities,” he says.

“To be clear, most of our international destinations have strict protocols in place to ensure crew are not exposed to COVID-19 during their layover. 

”Any crew who are symptomatic, or who have had to break isolation offshore to seek medical attention, for example, must enter quarantine on return to New Zealand. 

“Our crew take their responsibility of keeping themselves, their colleagues and our customers safe very seriously. We stand with them and appreciate what they are doing to return people to their homes and get our economy moving again.”






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