Delta Air Lines is to roll out COVID-19 tests to all of its employees, according to an internal memo shared today. The move is the latest change to be enacted by airlines across the US, and indeed the world, as they look to cope with the changing travel landscape.
Airlines are currently flying in uncharted territory. Never before has the industry experienced such a situation. Indeed, many have commented that the current unprecedented situation facing the aviation industry is worse than 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, and other events of such magnitude combined. As such, airlines are rapidly evolving with the current situation.
Delta employees to get COVID-19 tests
According to an internal Delta Air Lines memo seen by Simple Flying, all of the airline’s employees will be able to undergo testing for COVID-19. The memo, sent by the airline’s CEO, Ed Bastian, explained that the airline would partner with the Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics for the initiative.
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Testing will be open to all employees, including cabin crew and ground staff, however, will initially be piloted in Minneapolis, then in Atlanta, Detroit and New York. These employees will be able to take tests for both the active virus, in addition to antibodies to the virus. Antibody testing shows those who may not have had visible symptoms of coronavirus.
In the memo, Bastian wrote:
“As we continue to move through the most challenging environment in Delta’s history, our No. 1 focus is on taking care of our people. With the multiple crises that we’re facing – in public health, the economy, and social injustice – that effort takes many forms.”
Yesterday the US-based carrier announced that it would be launching a ‘global cleanliness division.’ This division will spearhead a cleanliness transformation for the airline that will further develop the airline’s cleanliness standards, methods, and quality.
Earlier this month, we revealed that Delta Air Lines would continue to observe forced social distancing in its cabins until the end of September. This will see middle seats blocked from being selected. However, while Lufthansa is blocking middle seats, but still selling them if demand permits, Delta has capped the number of seats being sold on each flight. This means that the middle seats won’t be occupied on busy trips.
What else are airlines doing?
Airlines around the world are each taking steps to address the changing travel landscape. However, each carrier’s reaction has been ever so slightly different. Some airlines have been taking much more extreme actions than others. However, IATA advises that the risk of onboard virus transmission is incredibly low.
LOT Polish Airlines and Qatar Airways are two airlines that have taken a reasonably strict position. LOT Polish is currently enforcing a chessboard social distancing pattern on its flights, with alternating seats kept empty. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is implementing full head to toe PPE for its cabin crew. Most other airlines are only requiring mask usage.
Are you a member of Delta staff keen to take a COVID-19 test? How do you feel about the announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!