THAI scrubs jets to ward off Ebola

Thai Airways International Plc is responding to Africa’s Ebola epidemic with the same thoroughness it did during the 2003 SARS and bird flu outbreaks in 2003 and 2004.

Sub Lt Anussorn Naksrichum, acting deputy chief of THAI's aviation-business unit, outlined for the media Tuesday how the carrier is cleaning its aircraft to ensure passengers remain healthy. The procedures were first implemented during the severe acute respiratory system crisis 11 years ago.

To start with, THAI is screening passengers and checking them for Ebola Virus Disease-like symptoms before check-in, he said. In some cases, THAI will require passengers provide certificates showing they do not have Ebola. Passengers will also be monitored in-flight.

Aircraft are being frequently disinfected, with cabin "deep cleaning" carried out and 36 more contact spots added to the cleaning routine.

Cabin crew will be equipped with personal-hygiene equipment and receive healthcare training, he said.

The airline also will improve examinations of cargo and avoid high-risk goods. It will be strict on food preparation, including where they are sourced from, Sub Lt Anussorn said.

The national carrier does not fly to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the disease is spreading. THAI flies to Johannesburg three times a week.

Mekin Petplai, president of the Airports of Thailand Plc, said the airport has checked body temperatures of all inbound passengers, particularly those from 45 countries in Africa. The airport has not yet found any passengers with Ebola symptoms or those with body temperature higher than 38 degrees needing close monitoring.

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