Delta is launching a new passengers contact-tracing initiative as new lockdowns ruin the airline's plans to stop burning through cash
Delta Air Linesis introducing a voluntary contact tracing program for international arrivals to the US.
- Passengers will be asked for their full name, email address, contact numbers, and address in the US to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- CEO Ed Bastian announced in the same memo that the airline will not achieve its goal of daily losses of $10 million for the fourth quarter and will fall short by up to $4 million.
Delta is taking on contact tracing in the skies as its latest initiative in the fight against
International travelers inbound to the US will be asked to provide five pieces of information as part of the program that will aid health authorities in contact tracing efforts. Most of the information Delta is seeking is already required to book a flight and includes a passenger's full name, primary and secondary phone numbers, address in the US, and email address.Participation in the program is voluntary but can help notify passengers if they've been exposed to the virus in the course of their travels, as well as give local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more data to help stop the spread. For flyers utilizing Delta's new quarantine-free flights between Atlanta and Rome, agreeing to contact tracing will be mandatory for when they return to the US.
Passenger data will be transmitted to the CDC and public health authorities through Customs and Border Protection. Delta currently works with CBP to operate its biometric check-in and boarding systems in place at its international hubs.Delta flyers are already required to submit a health declaration at check-in affirming that they have no primary symptoms of COVID-19 including a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, feeling feverish, a new persistent cough, and shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
A COVID-19 positive traveler or even a person exposed to the virus must also wait 14 days from the time of their diagnosis or exposure before stepping on a Delta plane. Most airlines now have these declarations with Frontier Airlines even going as far as performing temperature checks at boarding.Asymptomatic passengers, however, could spread the virus without knowing. That's why all major US airlines, including Delta, now require face masks onboard and some will ban passengers who don't comply. Delta alone has banned over 400 passengers as of late October, including the Navy SEAL that killed Osama bin Laden, Robert O'Neill.
A question of public health or saving the bottom line?Airlines are walking a fine line as confidence in air
While all the measures airlines are taking have made air travel safer, with low incidence rates among flight attendants as a key barometer, airlines have an another motive for wanting to stop this pandemic: it's good for business.Reuters announcing the airline's new contract tracing program, CEO Ed Bastian said the airline won't meet its daily cash burn goal of $10 million. Delta will instead see losses between $12 million and $14 million per day in the fourth quarter, with Bastian directly citing an increase in cases across the country as the reason for the reduction in demand.
Airlines are also rushing to take part in the COVID-19 vaccine airlift as the quicker this pandemic is over, the sooner travel will restart. Robert Walpole, vice president for Delta Cargo, told reporters in a Thursday briefing that the Federal Aviation Administration had given the authorization to transport six times the normal amount of Pfizer vaccine on its largest aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB and A330-300.
United Airlines flew the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the US in late November as the pharmaceutical company prepares for an expected emergency authorization from the FDA. Delta has been flying test flights and ramping up its vaccine-handling infrastructure in key hubs to prepare for the impending mass
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