As airlines resume passenger services during the ongoing Covid-19 Crisis, there are likely to be multiple public health, regulatory, training, operational and crew and consumer confidence challenges. This document is aimed at helping airlines consider the impact of these on their proposed operations and to help formulate alternative procedures until all restrictions are lifted.
Cabin Crew training and qualification The airline’s ability to provide training for cabin crew will be impacted by Government Health Authorities restrictions on movement, physical distancing and public health requirements. Alternative training methods such as webinars, distance learning and e-learning may need to be discussed and accepted by regulators. If classroom training is necessary then rules of social distancing are to be observed and training equipment and rooms should be sanitized and a disinfection program should be implemented by the airlines. Cabin Crew health precautions Airlines should provide guidance and instructions to cabin crew aimed at preventing them from contracting Covid-19 while on duty and down route in areas where local transmission is evident. Airlines should consider implementing procedures in order to prevent cases of infected cabin crew operating flights. These procedures may include self certification statements from cabin crew when reporting for duty or providing evidence of recent negative test results, where rapid testing is available. Airlines may also need to consider additional procedures to check cabincrew health during extended flight duties, suchas the provision of thermometers and regular temperature checks. Cabin crew who display symptoms of respiratory infection or with a temperature above 37,5° must be relieved from flight duties and, selfisolateand seek medical treatment. If testedpositive for Covid-19 crews should not bepermitted to operate flights to avoid furtherspread of the disease.Cabin crew recovered from infection may requirea medical declaration, approving going back onduty. These crew might experience a loss of smelland taste (anosmia) and airlines should consider the impact of anosmia on the crews’ ability to perform their duties (e.g. identify unusual smells in the cabin).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
A safety risk assessment should be undertaken to determine the impact of PPE on cabin crew safety duties and any additional mitigations which might be necessary (e.g. use of oxygen masks, PBE, etc.) Cabin crew should be provided with appropriate guidance in the correct use of PPE. Masks: If providing masks to cabin crew or permitting their generalized use, the operator should ensure that cabin crew are made aware of additional risks posed by frequent touching of the face to reposition masks, and that regular thorough handwashing is still required. Masks should be safely removed and replaced at regular intervals in accordance with health recommendations. Masks should be removed
during emergency situations and always be worn when inn contact with a passenger showing symptoms of the illness. Gloves: the use of gloves during services should not substitute regular an thorough handwashing, as contaminants on gloves can also be spread easily. Gloves should not be worn for long periods of time and should be disposed of correctly, to avoid cross contamination, followed by hand-washing. Hand sanitizing products: can be used in addition but not replace regular hand-washing. Being alcohol-based solutions, if installed in the galleys or lavatories, it will need authorization from the civil aviation authority and should not be installed adjacent to any source of heat. Where passengers and crew which to have their personal hand-sanitizing products, they should respect the limit of 100ml in accordance with aviation security provisions. Universal Precaution Kits (UPK): The Operator SHOULD ensure all passenger aircraft in its fleet are equipped with one or more universal precaution kits for use by cabin crew members in managing: i. Episodes of ill health associated with a case of suspected communicable disease; ii. Cases of illness involving contact with body fluids. In normal cases one or two kits per aircraft should be enough but at times of increased health risk additional kits should be provided. UPK typically includes: dry powder to cover spills, germicidal disinfectant, skin wipes, face and eye masks, gloves, impermeable gown, absorbent towel, pick-up scoop, bio-hazard waste bag, instructions.
Cleaning and disinfection
Airlines may need to consider additional cleaning and disinfecting schedules in accordance with Health Authority requirements. Increased frequency of inflight cleaning of lavatories by cabin crew may be necessary according to the risk level associated with each flight.
It is possible that aircraft might have been in extended storage prior to flight operations. Therefore cabin crew must be especially careful when conducting pre-flight check as some safety and emergency equipment might be unserviceable, damaged or missing. It is also recommend that the cabin is checked for damage which may affect safety and make sure to do a thorough purging of water systems until water flows freely. Physical Distancing Where physical distancing is required, at least one lavatory should be blocked and dedicated for crew use in order to ensure it remains available for handwashing, as well as limiting the possibility of contamination from infected persons.
techniques may also need to be applied to passengers waiting to use lavatories. Boarding and Disembarkation: Depending on passenger booking figures, airlines with preassigned seating procedures may wish to consider physical distancing requirements within seating assignment systems. Where passenger load and any weight/balance limitations allow, passengers may be encouraged to move to empty seats to increase physical distance between them. Cabin crew positions during boarding may need to be altered, for example in areas such as over wing exits where it is not possible to maintain a suitable distance from passengers during boarding. During disembarkation, cabin crew may be required to limit the number of passengers standing to retrieve personal belongings and to manage the number of passengers disembarking simultaneously, in order to ensure physical distancing is possible while on steps/airbridges. Cabin Crew: Where physical distancing measures are required on high risk flights, cabin crew should be reminded ton consider the following: wherever possible, remain within their assigned area of responsibility; while eating or drinking, do not share meals, utensils or drinking containers; reduce non-essential contact with passengers and/or their belongings; reduce physical contact between each other and with other staff or members of public. It may be necessary to alter cabin crew seating positions during take-off and landing, particularly in the case of double crew seats.
Manual safety demonstration equipment should be sanitized before each use. It is recommended that procedures be reviewed to ensure that cabin crew are not required to place demonstration equipment such as oxygen masks and life vest mouthpieces to their mouth and nose. When demonstrating the use of oxygen masks, passengers should be reminded that protective facial masks if worn, should be removed. Inflight Services Meal and beverage offerings may need to be altered to comply with temporary health restrictions and physical distancing techniques and could vary by route. For example when operating between countries with low infection rates and limited spread, a standard service may be acceptable, while operating within, to or from a country with a high rate of infection, services may need to be limited. If airlines choose to offer services from galley areas to maintain physical distance between cabin crew, flight crew and passengers, they should ensure that these service procedures consider the following safety risk mitigations:
Cabin crew require easy and immediate access to the cabin during an emergency;
Further limitation of flight crew compartment access;
Service equipment such as trolleys/carts set up at door areas need to be secured while in use and may need to be stowed rapidly during unexpected turbulence or any other emergency;
Regular cabin safety monitoring activities should always be maintained;
Passengers should not be permitted to congregate in or near the service areas. It may be advisable to call passengers by seat row/number for service;
Passengers should remain seated with seatbelts fastened at all other times to reduce risk of injury during unforeseen turbulence.
Interfering with aircraft cabin
Passengers have been known to interfere with aircraft fixtures and fittings during time of pandemic, in attempts to reduce their personal risk of infection. Such behaviours have included the use of plastic sheeting over the seatbacks in order to create enclosed spaces, obstruction of air vents and the wearing of unusual clothing or head coverings. Passengers should not be permitted to interfere with aircraft cabin fixtures in such a manner as to:
ver.di will continue to monitor the recommendations of IATA and EASA regulations and will keep you updated. Health and safety of crews and passengers must be a priority during pandemic but also in postpandemic times independently of the airline kind, full service carrier, low-cost carrier or charter. All crews have the right to be protected and to have a healthy