Qantas accused of exposing passengers to coronavirus

Font Size:

Qantas has been grilled over potentially putting passengers at risk of coronavirus, after an inspection by Safework NSW found the airline was lax on cleaning processes.

The workplace regulator issued the world’s safest airline with an improvement notice for potentially exposing passengers and workers to “injury or illness” from inadequate cleaning processes on aircraft “that may have transported passengers with infectious disease”, according to a Travel Weekly report.

Aircraft cleaners were handling “wet and used tissues, used face masks and soiled nappies”, said the inspector, whom workers also advised of having occasionally had to clean vomit and blood off surfaces.

“I also observed workers wiping over multiple tray tables with the same wet cloth with no disinfectant and cleaning unknown liquids on floors and surfaces,” said the inspector, who noted that PPE (personal protection equipment) was not mandated for the majority of these tasks.

Qantas must now consult with a hygiene and infection control expert and implement a safer system of work for cleaners, including protective gear and assessments of how they come into contact with bodily fluids.

“Qantas is not known for being complacent when it comes to safety or the cleanliness of our aircraft,” a spokesperson from Qantas told Travel Weekly, saying that the airline may consider appealing the notice.

“All of our Fleet Presentation teams are provided with personal protective equipment for cleaning the aircraft, and for more hazardous items we have additional equipment such as masks and safety suits.”

Qantas cancelled a flight from Sydney to London last week to clean the A380 after a passenger tested positive for coronavirus.

“While Qantas Medical has assessed the risk as extremely low, we are doing some additional cleaning of those aircraft as a precaution,” said the spokesperson.

“This is in addition to the normal clean that takes place after each international flight.”

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have also been forced to deep clean planes after infected passengers travelled on them.

“Airlines are on the front line of that challenge and it’s essential that the regulatory community work with us to ensure airlines are able to operate in the most sustainable manner, both economically and environmentally, to alleviate the worst impacts of the crisis,” stated International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Are you worried about flying during the coronavirus crisis?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Travel Vision: Qantas' retro safety video 12 months in the making

‘It's really a tribute to a century of our people, the changing styles, and our innov

Flying? Here’s how to avoid coronavirus

Simple tips on airplane travel in light of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Qantas revamps boarding process for premium passengers

Qantas implements a new boarding process for its premium passengers.

Written by Leon Della Bosca


Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    TWU ……Whatdo you expect…been. going on for years

  2. 0

    It’s OK cleaning the planes, but what about when they land. My daughter just came back from India on Air India. There was no one at the airport to meet them or explain the self isolation process, there was no masks or hand sanitisers, so they could hop in a taxi or train and spread the virus.



continue reading

Seniors Finance

Read this before buying candles for Christmas

Gary Mortimer, Queensland University of Technology and Jana Bowden, Macquarie University Christmas marks a peak in consumerism across the West....

Health news

Climate change means Australia faces more heatwave deaths

Experts are warning that heatwaves present a greater risk to public health than bushfires. Heat-related illness is our "silent killer",...


Dairy-free Banana Ice Cream Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

Nadiya Hussain has become more aware of her dairy intake, saying: "We need to do our bit - I know...


Supermarkets urged to stop promoting unhealthy foods

Supermarkets have been seen by many, particularly older Australians, as somewhat of a saviour throughout these strange days, but a...

Health news

What a home DNA test can’t tell you

Genetic testing is easier and more popular than ever. Swab tests and saliva tests can be sent to your home,...


Social connection boosts fitness app use

Most of us have experienced the benefits of exercising with a friend or loved one, it's more fun and it...

Health news

Massive blood test trial offers hope of earlier cancer diagnoses

One blood test could detect 50 forms of cancers if the trial of a liquid biopsy undertaken by the British...


The trends from 2020 that support a positive outlook in retirement

For most of us, the pandemic changed our lives in a big way. We were forced to dig deep and...