On 26 March the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published “Guidance on management of crew members with regard to COVID-19”. A scan of the 9 page document shows that EASA requires airlines to provide special Corona kits on board of their aircraft and that cabin crew should be trained on how to use these materials in a safe way. Apart from that, the provision of masks and allowing cabin crew to wear them during the flight is a relatively mandatory prescription.
However most of the guidance that EASA issues is simply a call on the airlines to make all efforts possible to protect cabin crew, for example, to reserve a toilet for crew only and facilitate social distancing between crew and passengers. This is not an obligation, just an obligation to make the effort.
To be honest this is more than some European airlines have already implemented for their cabin crew. EurECCA is disappointed that EASA did not take their guidelines one step further by making it mandatory for airlines to adopt all their preventative measures and hence increase the protection of cabin crew working on flights to critical Corona virus destinations. In addition, the guidelines are specific to COVID-19; however when there is a next outbreak of yet another type of contagious virus, it will be the same problem all over again and we are back to the drawing board. It is time to recognise that flying is the fastest way of spreading any pandemic and tighter measures must be put in place to protect, cabin crew, passengers and the world at large.
The European Cabin Crew Association EurECCA is a European organisation based in Belgium at the heart of Europe. It is made up of cabin crew unions from European Union Member States as well as accession states and bordering states.