Virgin Atlantic A330Neo

There’s nothing in modern history you can even begin to compare with covid-19, better known as the coronavirus pandemic. Countries are locked down, but all around the world, people are joining forces to help get their community through this, and move onto better days for the future.

In recent weeks, airlines were forced to furlough staff as borders closed and demand dropped out of the sky, but at least in the UK, it’s created an amazing new partnership, and opportunities for those out of work at the moment.

The UK’s NHS has enlisted Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet cabin crew to assist in their new ‘Nightingale’ Hospitals, drawing upon the many skills and certifications required to become a crew member, while also providing job opportunities at this crucial time.

blurred people in a modern hallBecoming a cabin crew member requires important safety certifications, all of which are in short supply as the world tackles covid-19. The NHS has enlisted Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet’s circa 13,000 qualified crew members to provide vital support roles to doctors and nurses as the UK builds new facilities to cope with overwhelming demand.

Obviously, the roles are not mandatory, but it’s a unique opportunity, potentially for cabin crew members on unpaid leave, to put their skill sets to good use and make a major difference in treating the global pandemic. Both paid staff and volunteers receive lodging in nearby hotels and meals.

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said of the partnership…

“The NHS is mobilising like never before, but the scale of this challenge has not been seen in peacetime so we need all the support we can get. Many airline staff are first aid trained or hold other clinical qualifications as well as being security cleared, while NHS clinicians will oversee their work – with expert training provided to all new recruits when they sign-up.”

a plane flying in the skyAnd Corneel Koster, Chief Customer Officer of Virgin Atlantic, adds…

“We are very proud of our highly skilled people at Virgin Atlantic and since the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced, we have been inundated with our employees looking to help other organisations at this time of crisis. The NHS approached us with this unique opportunity as they recognise the value and experience our medically trained cabin crew and trainers will bring to the incredible Nightingale Hospital initiative.”

It’s true, the modern world has never seen anything of this proportion during peace time, but it’s incredible what humanity can come up with in times of need.

This could be a blueprint for many countries currently struggling with increased outbreaks, as airline crew members currently on the ground could end up playing a crucial role in cities and countries around the world. Advanced CPR and other medical training is not easy to find, and as doctors and nurses are stretched to their limits, highly capable hands there to help could be all the difference.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Fantastic (and to see that some staff will be supported despite eaerlier actions). A great shame the range of UK airlines haven’t all chosen to get involved even though I have no doubt individual staff will volunteer.

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