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Qatar Airways Takes Proactive Precautionary Measures over Health Concerns

Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways has initiated a number of measures over heightened global health concerns amid the recent outbreak of influenza A (H1N1) swine flu virus in Mexico.



The airline has engaged in several precautionary steps since Monday 27th April as management expressed growing concern about the current situation.



Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The health and wellbeing of all our passengers and employees is of paramount importance and Qatar Airways in no way compromises the safety of any individual.



“Passengers should be reassured that modern aircraft have very advanced air filtration systems which ensure a high level of air quality despite the confined environment they are travelling in.”



Qatar Airways has been working closely with local health authorities in Qatar and monitoring developments with international health organisations and governments around the world in order to be able to take the most appropriate measures.


Since April 27th, Qatar Airways has required that all operating flight deck and cabin crew wear masks on flights originating from the United States – namely daily services from New York, Washington DC and Houston.




The airline has taken additional mandatory measures for all 1,100 flight deck and 3,400 cabin crew in the company to be vaccinated against influenza to limit the risk of contamination to passengers and staff. The flu vaccine is a protective measure and only protects against a certain strain of flu, not swine flu, which is at the centre of the current health concerns.





Passengers on Qatar Airways’ flights originating from the US to Doha are being issued with masks upon boarding and advised to wear them inflight. In addition, all Qatar Airways’ customer contact staff in the United States and at Doha International Airport are required to wear masks.





If prior to boarding in the US or during transit in Doha, passengers are identified as having flu or fever-like symptoms, they will be referred to a local medical centre to determine their suitability to travel.





The airline’s decision has been taken to control the potential transmission of the virus to fellow passengers and crew onboard.


Al Baker said that the airline took these unconditional measures at an early stage in the full interests of the public.





“This is all about the lives and wellbeing of people,” he said.





“There is absolutely no compromise for the safety of any individual, whether they are travelling or not. As an airline we are fully responsible for the safety of our passengers, crew and ground staff, but also as the national carrier of the State of Qatar, we have a responsibility to reduce the risk of exposure to people living and working in the country.





“We are taking these steps as we don’t want to underestimate the situation which has been developing on a daily basis. Qatar Airways will keep monitoring the situation as it unfolds and continue to take further steps where necessary and appropriate.”





Qatar Airways strongly recommends that in the best interests of fellow travellers, passengers refer to information available through international health authorities, including the World Health Organisation, at www.who.int prior to travelling. In addition, individual countries are issuing their own travel advisories.


Qatar Airways Head of Medical Services Dr Soha Al Bayat added: “Qatar Airways has taken a conscious stance to implement these measures. In light of the current situation, it is vital for people to observe strict personal hygiene controls to protect themselves and those around them.





“If passengers develop fever or flu-like symptoms, they are advised to consult their doctor or medical practitioner straightaway. Symptoms of this A (H1N1) particular strain of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue,” she said.





“Our flight crew and ground staff have been fully briefed about swine flu, how to identify possible cases and of appropriate measures that need to be taken to contain the situation.”





Health authorities around the world have advised that in the interests of personal hygiene, people should cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing; avoid touching their eyes and nose in case the virus has been transmitted, and frequently wash their hands.



 








Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956 / +974 586 2049 / +974 550 3937 / +974 583 1047 / Fax: +974 4620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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