According to a report released on 10 June 2008 by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau,
“passengers’ health is not greatly at risk through air travel and widespread infections are unlikely.”
On the cases that have been reported of infection, the ATSB says
“such transmission was primarily due to the crowding together of a large variety of people in a confined space, not specifically due to aircraft cabin conditions.”
It goes on to say
“Perhaps of greater concern is the opportunity for infection to spread in airport terminals, where passengers who are travelling to or from many destinations are gathered together.”
At the moment Qantas Airways has a reputation of being a safe airline, principally because its planes do not fall out of the sky. But there is a further definition of a safe airline and that is one whose management actively minimises the risk of infections and pandemics both in the aircraft and the terminal.
Important lessons were learnt from the “dry-run” on modern pandemic from SARS but this focussed on the air traveller and the aircraft and did not include the airport terminal. Perhaps as well as the safety airline, Australia needs to establish the safety airport.
Boy, web-conferencing is becoming more attractive.