Introduce Pre-departure Testing, Says New British Airways CEO

British Airways CEO Sean Doyle - Aviatorsbuzz
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle. Source: IAG

A week in office at British Airways for new CEO Sean Doyle began with him delivering the keynote address at aviation seminar Airlines 2050: Beyond the Crisis.

Making his first public appearance since being appointed last week, the new CEO announced to the industry that British Airways continues to play a crucial part in connecting Britain with the world and the world with Britain and is doing everything in its power to emerge from this crisis.

Mr. Doyle who replaced Alex Cruz as the CEO of British Airways, said the airline believes the risk to public health of flying is low after the industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA) suggested that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of COVID-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled.

“We need to get the economy moving again and this just isn’t possible when you’re asking people to quarantine for 14 days,” the AFP quoted him as saying. The news agency attributed another quote to Mr. Doyle that said: “If we look abroad to our near neighbours, we see that business travel and indeed tourism is being prioritised by some countries.”

Till last week, Mr. Doyle had been CEO at Aer Lingus, which like British Airways, is owned by airlines group International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. (IAG)

The new British Airways CEO in a statement said that the safety of their customers and crew was always their priority, and they are taking every safety measure to keep  customers safe.

“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 2 to 3 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,” he said.

Mr. Doyle confirmed that British Airways does not believe quarantine is the long-term solution, saying: “We believe the best way to reassure people is to introduce a reliable and affordable test before flying. For the United Kingdom this approach reduces the stress on NHS testing systems within the UK and on policing the quarantine system.”

Various news reports quoted British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as saying that the United Kingdom was looking at introducing a virus test alongside a shortened quarantine period. “My ministerial colleagues and I have agreed a regime, based on a single test provided by the private sector and at the cost to the passenger, after a period of self-isolation,” he said speaking at Airlines 2050: Beyond the Crisis.


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Deputy Editor, AviatorsBuzz Aditya Anand in his nearly two decades of Journalism experience has tracked Aviation, Travel, and Hospitality closely and reported on it for major publications like The Hindu, Mumbai Mirror, and MIDDAY.