Air traffic uptick at Armstrong as airlines step up Covid-19 precautions

Flights and COVID Safety Measures

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Airport officials say passenger counts are picking up at Armstrong International as they get ready for a busier holiday season. The airlines say they are doing all they can to keep their jets COVID-19 free, and today, we got a firsthand look behind the scenes.

“I’ve been keeping up with this.”

He is a doctor preparing to board a flight to Atlanta and when it comes to COVID-19 some might say he’s a high risk.

“I just finished chemotherapy,” said Dr. John Wakeman.

He says after consulting with his own doctor he’s confident in steps being taken at the airport to try and keep the terminal and planes COVID-19 free.

“You start seeing from the moment you walk in social distancing stickers on the ground,” said Helda Durnham, with Delta Airlines.

Plexiglass protects counter attendants and a 10 person crew cleans every interior surface of the plane between flights.

“The electrostatic spraying sticks to the surface and kills 99 percent of the germs,” said Durnham.

But Health educator Dr. Eric Griggs says nationwide coronavirus numbers are spiking right now and he says we all should be careful.

“Right now I’m cautious, I would rather drive,” said Dr. Eric Griggs, health educator.

While passenger counts are picking up they are nowhere near what they were last year at this time.

“We are thinking it will be 50 to 40 percent of where we were last year,” said Erin Burns with Armstrong International Airport.

Dr. Griggs calls for more research to determine air travel safety.

“Contact tracing would help us find out were true positives are,” said Dr. Griggs.

But Dr. John Wakeman is confident about his trip to Atlanta.

“Doctors were okay with this, my health is good, I stay energetic,” he said.

And thanks to cleaning programs which the airlines say are effective, it appears more and more passengers are confident to fly as well.

Airport officials urge everyone to wear masks when walking about the terminal or boarding a plane. Delta keeps the middle seat empty to provide adequate social distancing. But some airlines sell every seat.

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