Philadelphia Airport, major airlines act to protect passengers from coronavirus

Mark Abrams
March 05, 2020 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, a major air carrier and employees of Philadelphia International Airport are taking steps to protect passengers and visitors to the terminals.

American Airlines, which accounts for 70% of the total air traffic with about 420 daily departures from Philadelphia, has stepped up procedures to ensure passenger areas and planes are properly cleaned and sanitized.

Andrew Trull, a spokesman for American Airlines in Philadelphia, says the airline's health and safety measures are based on guidelines issued through the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and local health officials.

Trull says once a flight is on the ground in Philadelphia, crews go into action. 

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"Lavatories are cleaned. Floors are spot cleaned and visible trash is removed from all seat pockets on every flight. And, when ground time allows, all of our galleys and tray tables are cleaned, particularly for our transcontinental Hawaiian service and then all international flights, we do a deeper level of cleaning,” he said. 

Many involved in cleaning those planes are members of the Service Employees International Union 32BJ.

"We've been working hand-in-hand with the contractors and with the members cleaning airplanes or pushing wheelchairs, baggage handling,” said union district director Daisy Cruz. “What the airlines are doing and the contractors are doing are just following the CDC guidelines just making sure that there's prevention that's happening."

Flo Brown, communications director for Philadelphia's division of aviation, says airport maintenance crews are focusing on disinfecting common public areas and promoting good hygiene.

"So we use a chemical called Germaclean to clean our high-touch surfaces and we offer hand-sanitizing stations throughout the terminals. We've also proactively installed hands-free technology throughout our public areas and we include soap dispensers, flush valves and paper towel dispensers. There are also more than 50 water bottle filling stations throughout the terminals and those are motion-sensor activated,” Brown said.

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