Flight and aircraft handling are regarded as vital processes by the government. This means that the government believes that aviation is essential to society and that the continuity of a flight operation is therefore a priority. The guidelines for events and gathering therefore do not apply to aviation. For airlines, flying during the corona crisis means that they have to operate under exceptional circumstances. The current situation calls for a series of measures that KLM implements in order to carry out its operation as safely as possible for passengers and crew. These measures are in line with information and instructions from the WHO, RIVM and GGD and KLM’s own health and safety services.
The most important measures are listed below.
Wherever possible, KLM works on the basis of the general guideline of the ‘social distance‘ of 1.5 meters. In practice, this means that when the occupancy of an aircraft is low – which is now more common – as much space as possible is created around the passenger by keeping seats empty. On repatriation flights to Amsterdam, however, seat blocking may not be possible. In this case, returning as many Dutch nationals home as possible has the highest priority.
Service on board
One of the most important principles to ensure the safety of passengers and our crew is to minimize the contact moments between crew and passengers. This has an impact on onboard service. The offer of catering has therefore been simplified.
Hygiene on board
On board, the crew wears mouth caps and protective gloves. There is extra hygiene equipment on board, such as hand sanitizers, and on every flight a toilet is kept free exclusively for the crew. This gives them unrestricted access to a place where they can look after themselves and wash their hands. KLM’s aircrafts are additionally cleaned using suitable cleaning agents. The air on board the aircraft is drier and is rapidly refreshed along highly efficient filters to filter the air of potentially harmful particles and viruses.
Before and after boarding the plane
Safe travel is not only given the highest priority on board. Before and after boarding, a mix of measures is also in place at Schiphol. These include communication about ‘social distance’ at check-in, gates, service and transfer desks. The public can only pay for a number of services by debit card or creditcard. Custom boarding processes have also been set up, such as boarding in smaller groups. KLM also conducts passenger screenings on a number of flights.
About passenger screening
Several countries have recently imposed measures on airlines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These require all passengers to undergo a health check before boarding. For flights departing from Amsterdam to Canada, Singapore and South Korea, passengers are physically observed. Passengers flying to the last two destinations receive an additional temperature check. This is done at Schiphol by KLM ground staff in collaboration with KLM Health Services and Airport Medical Services staff. KLM is investigating whether the temperature check can be extended to more destinations, both at Schiphol and at the outdoor stations.