South African Airways (SAA) says its operational health and safety procedures adhere to the World Health Organisation’s protocols to protect its customers and crew from contracting the COVID-19 (coronavirus) while flying with SAA.
SAA 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.
Procedures In Place
“The safety, health and wellbeing of our customers and crew is a number one priority. To ensure their wellbeing, we adhere to the following procedures:
- 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 our teams use to clean our aircraft have been intensified and focus among other things, on high frequent touch points such as handles, seatbelt buckles, tray tables and armrests.
- Hard surfaces such as lavatories, galley units and window shades are also 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 on board and they work closely with ground and inflight expert medical assistance.
- All our aircraft are loaded with bio-hazardous spill kits in case of a contamination event (or to handle a contamination event) and cleaning materials.
“We assess all our passengers and advise that if they are feeling ill, they need to follow recommendations offered by medical professionals,” the airline explains.
Keeping it Clean
In a recently released statement SAA said that although it is following customs limits and guidelines, passengers are welcome to travel with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers.
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.
Take Precautions While flying
While SAA takes all the necessary steps to ensure that their customers enjoy a healthy flying experience, the airline advises customers to also take precautions to stay healthy while flying.
The Global recommended Precautionary tips include:
- Wash hands with soap often;
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after touching any surface;
- Avoid touching eyes, face and nose;
- Avoid contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible and
- Stay home if sick.
“We thank customers for the support by continuing to place their trust in South African Airways with their travel plans.”