Many airlines are making preparations to start or increase flights as restrictions and lockdowns ease. As part of this, they are introducing new measures to safeguard crew and passengers. The latest airline to take the decision to require all crew to wear full-body protective equipment when flights resume is Oman Air, following a similar move made by Qatar Airways previously.
Full PPE for Oman Air crew
According to reporting in the Oman Observer on May 27th, Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, will introduce full-body personal protective equipment (PPE) for all its crewmembers once flights resume. This will include a full-body disposable suit, mask, face shield, and gloves, all worn over the top of the standard crew uniform.
In announcing these changes, the airline explained its commitment to safety, saying:
“Oman Air is committed to providing safe environments for our guests and crew. We are in constant contact with health and safety experts and closely follow their instructions. Now and always, safety is our top priority.”
Limited operations as borders remain closed
Oman Air may be announcing PPE for all crew, but it is still no clearer when it will resume regular services. The airline suspended all flights from March 29th and, shortly after, it was reported that it was terminating the contracts of hundreds of its cabin crew.
The airline is still flying, operating some cargo flights and repatriation flights for citizens. There are still restrictions in place preventing passengers (not citizens) entering Oman, and it is not clear when this will change.
Meanwhile, Oman Air is quarantining all crew to allow its current limited flights to operate. As explained by the Oman Observer, all returning crew are quarantined on arrival in Muscat. For the crew in staff accommodation, this is in separate flats in a designated building. And local crew in quarantine at home are monitored by the airline’s welfare team and doctors.
Some airlines doing the same
Many airlines are introducing new procedures and equipment to help protect crew and passengers, both at the airport and in the air. This will no doubt increase as more flying resumes. So far, though, the introduction of full-body PPE has been limited.
Another Middle Eastern airline, Qatar Airways, is one airline that has done the same. It has introduced full-body PPE for all cabin crew, with face masks required for all passengers from May 25th.
Many other airlines that have announced changes have made face masks compulsory, but have not gone as far as full PPE. United Airlines was the first to introduce this in the US, followed soon by most other US airlines. In Asia, some airlines have introduced full PPE based uniforms, including Philippine Airlines and Air Asia.
Simple Flying contacted Oman Air for further details on the PPE requirements and resuming flights, but had not heard back by the time of publishing.
What do you think about airlines introducing full-body PPE for crew? Is this a sensible move, or are other precautions sufficient? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.