The Hi Fly medical team were delighted to be able to share their experience and knowledge with aviation industry stakeholders at a two-day Aviation Resilience & Health Workshop, rapidly organised by the IATA in Singapore, where the association’s medical advisor and an infectious diseases specialist reassured attendees that catching Covid-19 on a flight was ‘extraordinarily low’.

The closed-door workshop, attended by more than 100 IATA members and partners from 50 organisations in 20 countries and territories, focused on meeting the medical and regulatory aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak and working with governments.

Representing Hi Fly, Dr Rita Jorge attended, and as well as sharing best Hi Fly practice, was able to learn from the experiences of other carriers, while feeding any information gleaned back to Hi Fly for possible action.

On return from the workshop, Dr Jorge submitted a full report on her findings to the Hi Fly board and medical department. She focused on how what we know about the Covid 19 Coronavirus can be applied practically and safely in the field of passenger aviation.

Speaking after the conference Hi Fly Head if Medical Department Dr Luíza Mirpuri said: “It’s essential that Hi Fly be proactive in this global pandemic. “So it was important that Dr Jorge travelled to Singapore to share our experiences and plans for dealing with the virus.

“Despite the widespread panic, we need to have clear information to operate safely and gain passenger confidence, which has been affected by this crisis.

The main objective of the meeting for Hi Fly was to help prepare a policy document on operational procedures for managing cases of COVID 19 and similar outbreaks in the future.

By holding the workshop the IATA hoped to reassure people the travel process was safe, indicating that catching Covid-19 on a flight was “extraordinarily low”.

Speaking at the Singapore conference David Powell, the IATA’s medical advisor, told the media that airline medical advisers around the world are “in touch” with virus outbreaks dating back to SARS, and the workshop confirmed that existing procedures and suitable solutions for the current challenge required no changes.

Powell insisted there was no evidence of a passenger catching Covid-19 from a sick passenger on the same flight.

Anthony Council, IATA vice president, corporate communication, told the media that “there needs to be consistency and clarity” – something that is very difficult right now – and called for “collaboration” for the industry and life to “return to normalcy”.

While IATA respects the right of countries to issue travel bans, by holding the workshop, which was organised in 10 days, IATA is trying to reassure people the travel process is safe, Council added.