flydubai offers free global cover for COVID-19

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Passengers booking with flydubai for travel between 1 September and 30 November 2020 will automatically receive free global cover for COVID-19.

The new service covers passengers’ health expenses and quarantine costs if diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip and is valid for 31 days from the time they take their first flight on their itinerary. The service enables passengers to benefit from coverage for their medical expenses up to EUR 150,000 and quarantine costs up to EUR 100 per day for 14 days.

Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer at flydubai said: “The safety of our passengers and crew remains our highest priority. The new COVID-19 cover we are offering to our passengers will encourage more people to travel with ease of mind knowing that they will be looked after at every step of their journey. We see the demand for travel starting to increase as more countries gradually lift restrictions on international travel. Safeguarding the passenger journey with added precautions and enhanced procedures will help to stimulate the flow of trade and tourism globally.”

Etihad Airways provides global COVID-19 insurance

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Etihad Airways is introducing COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover as part of its health and hygiene programme, Etihad Wellness.

Duncan Bureau, Senior Vice President Sales and Distribution, Etihad Airways, said: “The safety, health, and wellbeing of our guests and employees is our top priority, during and beyond the flight. The introduction of global COVID-19 insurance, in partnership with AXA, builds on stringent measures already in place as part of our Etihad Wellness programme, championed by our Wellness Ambassadors.

“This additional cover will not only instil confidence to travel but also reassure our guests that we are doing all we can to keep them safe and protected. As more countries start opening their borders, we are making it as easy as possible for our guests to plan their next trip, hassle free.”

All Etihad tickets regardless of date of booking, traveling between now and 31 December 2020 will include COVID-19 insurance. The insurance is valid worldwide for 31 days from the first day of travel.

If passengers are diagnosed with COVID-19 while away from home, COVID-19 global wellness insurance will cover up to EUR150,000 of medical costs and up to EUR100 a day of quarantine costs in case of a positive diagnosis for 14 days.

Air Canada to introduce its own COVID-19 tests?

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Air Canada has stated that it wants to operate its own voluntary COVID-19 testing programme to encourage the reductions currently in place at its borders. The airline intends to set up testing stations for arriving passengers. They are seeking to use these tests to encourage Canada’s Government to relax its ban on selected international arrivals.

At present Canada is barring entry at its borders to all but essential travellers and Canadian citizens. Those selected to enter must then self isolate for 14-days, but these restrictions are having a major impact on the airline.

Air Canada’s CEO, Calin Rovinescu, called it an impossible operating environment.

“Canada’s federal and inter-provincial restrictions have been among the most severe in the world, effectively shutting down most commercial aviation in our country,” he said in a statement obtained by a media outlet.

But the Canadian Government is showing little interest in relaxing its border restrictions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will continue to do what needs to be done to keep people safe. But Air Canada wants a smarter, more science-based approach to border restrictions in order to survive and guarantee its future.

Virgin Atlantic provides complimentary COVID-19 global insurance cover

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Virgin Atlantic has become the latest airline to introduce complimentary COVID-19 global insurance.

The policy with Allianz Assistance, applies to all to all existing and new bookings, travelling from 24 August 2020 up until 31 March 2021, and covers the event that a Virgin Atlantic customer or travel companion becomes ill with COVID-19 while on a trip.

Emergency medical costs, associated expenses such as transport and accommodation and repatriation up to £500,000 are included, as well as costs if a customer is denied boarding or held in quarantine.

In the event that they or anyone else on their booking becomes ill with COVID-19 while travelling, Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover ensures related costs are covered, no matter how long the trip is or even if they’re visiting another destination on the same overseas trip.

The policy also covers expenses incurred up to £3,000 if a customer is denied boarding, at either departure or in destination, or has to quarantine due to positive or suspected COVID-19 during a trip.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic said: “.Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customers as they start to plan trips further afield. It applies in parallel to existing travel insurance policies which may now exclude COVID-19, and provides comprehensive cover for coronavirus, recognising the needs of our customers as we restart services.”

In late July, Emirates became the first airline to announce it would offer free, global cover for COVID-19 related costs, regardless of class of travel or destination. The cover became effective immediately and will last until 31 October 2020 and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey.

The airline will cover medical expenses of up to EUR 150,000 and quarantine costs of EUR 100 per day for 14 days, should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel, while they are away from home.

Lufthansa Group permits passengers with health conditions to fly mask free

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From 1 September, the Lufthansa Group airlines (Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, SWISS)  is allowing those with health conditions to fly mask-free upon presentation of a medical certificate. Passengers will be able to download the document from the retrospective airlines’ websites. In addition, passengers must also present a negative COVID-19 test, taken no longer than 48 hours prior to departure. This ensures maximum safety for the passengers travelling with them.

Children under the age of six continue to be exempt from the wearing a face mask.

Lufthansa Group’s General Conditions of Carriage (GTC) will in future stipulate that anyone with a known or positive COVID-19 infection are not permitted to board the aircraft.

“We have always emphasised that safety is our top priority, especially in the age of COVID-19, and a mask is the simplest and most effective protection against transmission,” commented Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter. “The majority of our passengers comply with the rules in an exemplary manner. With the current change, we are taking an additional step towards greater health protection on the aircraft.”

Delta expands testing programme

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Delta has partnered with CVS Health to accelerate employee COVID-19 testing with a rapid-response option for flight crews.

The CVS Health Return Ready testing will be overseen by a CVS Health clinician at Delta hub crew lounges and takes fewer than 15 minutes to diagnose whether the active COVID-19 virus is detected.

“Just like there’s no single method to reducing the transmission of the virus, there’s no one solution to testing our global workforce that is always on the move,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer.

The rapid-response nasal-swab test is the newest testing option Delta is providing employees so a baseline understanding of the infection can be established across Delta.

“It’s not feasible right now for everyone to take a test every time they walk out the door,” Smith said. “That’s why our baseline testing is so important, and we’re grateful to have partners who share our values and our vision to make testing easy and accessible to all Delta employees. We intend to use what we learn from this round of testing to make sure our re-testing program is one that continues to instill confidence among our people and with consumers about travelling with Delta.”

RedCabin hosts virtual working group

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RedCabin is to host its first virtual working group to examine if standards for cabin interior hygiene can be developed and how disinfectant technologies can be used most effectively onboard.

“Building passenger confidence with a clean cabin” will take place on 9 September at 5pm, led by Sean Stabler, Research and Innovation Manager at Sekisui Kydex.

The interactive working group will combine science, perception and collaboration to help industry executives understand how the use of disinfectant technologies can maximise the cleanliness of their aircraft cabins. The agenda includes discussions around new disinfection technologies such as UV disinfection, fogging, antimicrobial surfaces and disinfectant wipes; an overview of antimicrobials, microbes and disinfectants and their impact on aircraft interiors, and an outline of the main differences between surface protection and human contact protection.

Monica Wick, founder and CEO of RedCabin commented: “The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in an unprecedented shift within the aviation industry. Airlines are having to adapt to this dramatic change and, naturally, passengers are cautious about their safety.”

“Following the success of our previous webinar series, we are launching our virtual working groups to enable aviation leaders to come together and work collaboratively to develop new solutions which allow the industry to thrive post-Covid-19.”

Etihad Airways introduces premium protection

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Etihad Airways has launched new protective wear for First and Business class guests, as part of its new health and hygiene programme, Etihad Wellness.

Premium passengers will receive a complimentary snood style facemask made from lightweight, breathable and stretchy jersey fabric.

The snood can be worn around their neck like a scarf and when near others, pulled up over their mouth and nose to protect themselves and those around them.

The soft reusable snood has been treated with MicrobeBARRIER fabric treatment, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment, laboratory tested and proven to reduce the presence of germs in fabrics.

More jobs go at Gogo as COVID-19 continues to bite

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Gogo has announced the loss of a further 143 fulltime positions as it continues to be hit by the effects of COVID-19 on the demand for commercial aviation connectivity services.

Most of the job losses, the total of which represent approximately 14% of the Gogo’s overall workforce will come from its Commercial Aviation business and take effect on 14 August.

“As the pandemic continues to impact commercial airline travel, we are taking additional actions as part of our comprehensive 16-lever strategy to reduce costs. Based on our current expectations of the scope and timing of a recovery in the industry and our Commercial Aviation business, reducing our workforce has become a necessary step. We do not take this action lightly, but we believe it is critical in our efforts to preserve our financial flexibility, while maintaining the quality of our service and relationships with our customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO.

In keeping with the previously announced 16-lever plan to reduce costs, Gogo will continue to pursue non-personnel cost-savings levers, including renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses, and eliminating non-essential spend.

Delta teams up with Lysol to advance Delta CareStandard

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Delta has partnered with RB, the makers of Lysol to continue improving upon Delta CareStandard protocols launched during the COVID-19 pandemic across Delta airport locations and on board aircraft.

Delta and Lysol will work together to gather insights on consumers’ travel experiences to help inform the development of new, innovative disinfecting solutions for both the airport and onboard experience. The pair will also work together to identify and address ongoing germ-related travel concerns for customers. One of the first areas of focus will be developing breakthrough airplane lavatory solutions to help kill germs and protect customers and crew.

Microbiologists and germ-kill experts from Lysol will coordinate with Delta Global Cleanliness team to develop protocols for disinfection that will help protect customers against illness-causing bacteria and viruses in high-traffic areas where customers are most concerned about germs including departure gates, aircraft lavatories and Delta Sky Clubs. Delta will also deploy Delta Care Carts including EPA-approved disinfection products recommended by Lysol, making it easier to disinfect large seating areas and countertops more frequently.

Lysol will provide products to Delta, including Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, to be used with disinfecting protocols recommended by Lysol on high-touch germ hotspots across Delta areas from check-in to baggage claim.

“There’s no finish line for cleanliness – there’s always more we can do to innovate and elevate our already-high standards because that’s what our customers and employees expect and deserve,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. “The experts at Lysol share our drive for innovative, continuous improvement – they’re the best at their craft. That’s why we’re excited to get started on R&D to target germ ‘hot spots’ and cement the Delta CareStandard as the industry gold standard – so customers feel confident in choosing Delta as more people return to travel.”