Maui News

Hawaiian Airlines Details Plans to Address COVID-19

March 9, 2020, 3:49 PM HST
* Updated March 10, 7:07 AM
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Hawaiian Airlines, Boeing 787-9 aircraft, “Dreamliner.” Courtesy: Hawaiian Airlines.

In a statement released today, Hawaiian Airlines president Peter Ingram detailed the companyʻs efforts to protect passengers and staff members from the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

“In the Hawaiian language, mālama means ‘to care for’ or ‘to serve.’ It is one of our core values at Hawaiian Airlines, and it is very much on our mind as all of us face the uncertainty created by the novel coronavirus,” Ingram wrote.

Ingram noted that the company is following recommendations from public health agencies to help protect crew members and customers against potential exposure to the virus.

During flight, according to Ingram, cabin air is cleaned through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that “create a dry and essentially sterile environment inhospitable to the growth of viruses.”

Airline personnel also clean and disinfect transpacific aircrafts after every flight with products that kill COVID-19 and other viruses. Inter-island planes are cleaned after every flight and disinfected each night.

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Check-in kiosks are also disinfected daily, following protocols recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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If a passenger is deemed seriously ill on any flight, WHO cleaning guidelines will be used, which include extra disinfection and personal protective equipment for cleaning crews.

According to Ingram, passengers on mid- and long-haul flights will be provided disposable disinfecting wipes. However, Ingram added that the wipes are “difficult to source due to high demand, but we will continue to offer these- subject to availability- for the foreseeable future.”

To help customers manage disruptions to travel plans, the company has launched a waiver of change fees for flights booked from now until March 31. Waivers are also available for customers traveling internationally to or from Japan and South Korea.

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“We recognize that we cannot plan for every potential disruption and we have empowered our reservation agents to work with our guests on reasonable and compassionate solutions to their travel issues within our existing fare rules,” Ingram added.

Due to reduced demand amid growing fears of the coronavirus, the airline has adjusted its routes to South Korea and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

“If additional network adjustments must be made, we are committed to minimizing disruption to your travel plans whenever possible,” Ingram said.

Ingram concluded the letter by stating that the airline is working with state and federal agencies to protect Hawai’i against the infection and to prepare for potential emergency response.

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