Singapore Airlines bans passengers with contagious diseases

Singapore Airlines is putting signs in its plane toilets advising its staff not to travel with potentially highly contagious diseases, including tuberculosis and Ebola.

The company says it will “shield its crew from viruses” by “removing first class and business class staff, as well as any passengers, from cabins that might be opened”.

In addition, it will sterilise the bathrooms and make sure that all toilets are filtered.

Singapore Airlines is one of the leading airlines in the world and is known for its “barbaric luxuries” – its high quality service on any economy-class seat, or on business-class seats in particular.

But the airline’s announcement on Friday casts doubt on the last frontier of the aviation industry: security.

“We had seen all the outbreaks before and we knew that the aircrafts were airtight and we had to have very strict sanitation measures to prevent this happening,” Henry Lim, general manager for Singapore Airlines Singapore, told Channel NewsAsia.

Singapore Airlines made its announcement after a sick quarantine officer from Sri Lanka was flown back to Singapore, and allowed to board his next flight, with an unknown infectious disease.

Mr Lim said the Indonesian quarantine officer, suspected of Ebola and initially prevented from flying, was released from hospital on Thursday after being quarantined since 21 February.

He had developed symptoms after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone last year.

Singapore Airlines staff are routinely educated on handling infectious diseases, Mr Lim said.

“We train our staff thoroughly, that the situation is serious if this happens again. It is very unlikely, but you never know.”

He said Singapore Airlines only had one or two cases of staff coming down with a contagious disease each year, adding that any staff member who contracted such a disease could no longer work and would be quarantined.

“We make all staff are aware of it. We train our staff thoroughly, that the situation is serious if this happens again. It is very unlikely, but you never know.”

Singapore Airlines chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said in the past few months the company had been managing to cope with heightened security risks, including before the terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, but it felt that now was the right time to revise the policy.

More than 850 domestic passengers and another 1,000 transit passengers have also been affected by the quarantine policy.

Source: CNBC

Leave a Comment