Ebola outbreak in West Africa prompts airline reactions


(Posted 31st July 2014)

Kenya Airways has taken steps to reassure passengers flying with them over the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, as concerns by the general public rose to new levels. KQ is one of two airlines in East Africa which fly to several West African destinations, including countries where Ebola cases have been reported.

The following media release was received yesterday from Kenya Airways, while none was seen from the other airline as yet:

Start quote:


July 30, 2014 at 3:19pm

Arising from the unfortunate Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa, we wish to update that, Kenya Airways has taken several precautionary measures, as follows:

§ We have taken proactive measures to educate all Kenya Airways’ staff, and especially those on the ground in Sierra Leone, on Ebola, how it is transmitted and how to keep safe.

§ Our crew members have also been supplied and trained on the use of Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs) to ensure that they do not come into contact with body fluids while carrying out their duties.

§ Kenya Airways is represented in the National Aviation Pandemic Preparedness Committee(through steering committee of CAPSCA that is chaired by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority). This enables us access information real time on the country position during such situations.

§ We continuously monitor updates from World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association on the disease, its spread and for guidelines on recommended actions.

§ Additionally, surveillance is carried out at JKIA for all flights from West Africa by Port Health Unit that has this mandate.

It is also important to note that Ebola is transmitted by contact with body fluids of an ailing patient. However,during the incubation period (1 — 21 days), the infected person is well enough to travel and cannot transmit infection. When the symptoms set in, after this period, the person is too sick to travel and soon becomes bedridden. Hence the chances of being infected on board have been estimated to be minimal.

So far Ebola has not been declared an epidemic/pandemic. No travel bans or advisory have been given or recommended.

End quote

Airport health authorities at all regional international airports have also received updated information from their national health ministries and international organizations as a measure of increased surveillance and observation of arriving passengers, in particular on flights coming from the affected region in West Africa. Travellers are however unlikely to experience any delays in clearing customs, immigration and health checks at this stage. Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from the Eastern African region.

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