Air New Zealand staff on layover at “high-risk destinations” such as LA are now being asked to stay in their rooms and not visit the hotel restaurant.
The airline today clarified its safety measures put in place in response to the country’s second wave, which also involves asking some crew to isolate at home after landing and complete a COVID-19 test.
Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Auckland region would re-enter an ‘alert level 3’ lockdown for three days due to four new COVID-19 cases being identified, with people back to working from home and gatherings of more than 10 people banned.
The rest of the country was moved into lighter ‘alert level 2’ restrictions, which limited mass gatherings to 100 people and saw the return of social distancing. The measures were later extended until Thursday, 27 August.
In response, the airline on Wednesday clarified the range of measures staff are now undertaking to stop the spread of the virus.
The business said it now has different protocols for what it terms medium-risk layovers, such as Narita, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and high-risk, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Those in the former must isolate in hotels and are limited to a one-hour trip outside in a 24-hour period, while in the latter they must not leave at all. Aircrew are also not allowed to meet during the time between flights.
Air New Zealand is also “strongly encouraging” all Auckland Airport-based staff to voluntarily undertake a coronavirus test. The full list of measures are below:
On all flights, crew must:
- Wear masks and gloves when interacting with passengers; and
- Wear full PPE when dealing with unwell passengers.
For medium-risk layovers (Narita, Hong Kong, Shanghai), crew must:
- Wear masks and gloves when moving through the terminal;
- Use private crew transport to hotels, not mixing with other passengers;
- Isolate in hotels, limiting trips outside to one hour per 24-hour period;
- Not use the hotel gym or pool while on layover; and
- Not meet with other crew while on layover.
In addition, for high-risk layovers (San Francisco and Los Angeles), crew must also:
- Not leave the hotel;
- Have all food delivered to rooms; and
- On return home, air crew must isolate for 48 hours, complete a COVID-19 test, then isolate until test results are known.
Last week, Australian Aviation reported that Air New Zealand would now require all passengers departing Auckland to wear masks.
Previously, during the height of the pandemic in April, the airline’s staff wore masks but passengers were not required to.
Recently, the business has said customers are simply “welcome to bring” their own. In contrast, Auckland Airport itself has said the wearing of masks isn’t mandatory in the terminal but simply “strongly recommended”.