Delta Will Keep Flying to Liberia Until End of August, But CEO Says ‘On A Day-By-Day Basis’
Posted at 4:41 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2014
Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson said Wednesday his company would continue to fly to Liberia until the end of this month, but would look to U.S. and international health officials for guidance in the face of the Ebola virus pandemic which has broken out in Liberia and three nearby African countries: Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
“We’re serving [Liberia] through Aug. 31, but we really take it on a day-by-day basis,” he said in an interview on CNBC.
Delta had previously announced it was discontinuing service to Liberia.
Anderson added that “the great thing” about Delta having its headquarters in Atlanta is proximity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have a deep relationship with CDC and Emory [University Hospital in Atlanta, where two American medical workers with Ebola are being treated]. … We’re continuing to operate under their guidance and advice,” he said.
A CDC advisory published Monday “urges all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone because of an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola.”
Another CDC advisory Tuesday urged travelers to Nigeria to “protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are ill with Ebola.”
“We have screening mechanisms in place at the airport in Liberia in Terminal Two,” Anderson said. “And our flight crews and our pilots turn out of Dakar [Senegal] so the airplane comes from Dakar to Liberia, sits on the ground, and then turns around and goes back to Dakar. So we have good procedures in place. The government of Liberia is doing a good job screening people in advance of entering the airport.”
British Airways announced Tuesday that it was suspending flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
According to the World Health Organization, as of Monday, the cumulative number of cases attributed to Ebola in the four African countries stood at 1,711, including 932 deaths. The largest number of confirmed Ebola-caused deaths has been in Sierra Leone, with 247 as of Monday.