This week: Ebola scare hits Western airports & more

This week we’ve seen one topic pop up in airport news around Europe and the United States: Ebola. Here’s the overview of all our stories for this week:

As individual cases of the Ebola outbreak were detected outside Africa this week, the Western world is raising the alarm. This week we saw several airport related stories on this topic. First up was Fox News quoting Obama who said the US is to ramp up airport screening for Ebola. A couple days later the New York Times announced that Federal officials would begin temperature screenings of passengers arriving from West Africa at five American airports, beginning with Kennedy International in New York (JFK) as early as this weekend. Travelers at the four other airports — Washington Dulles International (IAD), O’Hare International (ORD), Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International (ATL) and Newark Liberty International (EWR) — will be screened starting next week, according to federal officials. Later in the week the United Kingdom also announced its upcoming airport screening. The Telegraph wrote that the Government is expected to announce that some screening will be brought in at British airports after the US began monitoring temperatures at the border.

Not everything went this smoothly though as – for example – in New York about 200 of the people who clean airplane cabins walked off their job in fear of exposure to Ebola. The Washington Post further wrote that the walkout came a day after health and safety experts from the Service Employees International Union, which represents many unionized airport employees, raised concerns over whether cabin cleaners were being adequately protected. The union said its members need to be better prepared to deal with the threat.

In a different article the Washington Post then debated the effectiveness of the proposed screening and argues that it takes time for the Ebola symptoms to emerge. The peak period is about eight to 10 days after infection, but it can take as long as 21 days for the symptoms to appear. So a person may be infected with the virus but have no fever or exhibit no other signs, which means the thermometer and visual check would not work, and they would be able to travel weeks after being infected.

We’re now moving on to a different topic: It was an isolated, single case, yet the delay occurring to passengers of a flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne was so horrendous, we simply have to report this one. The Daily Mail this week wrote about this flight and said  that several passengers became ill when a commercial jet carrying more than 200 people was rocked by strong winds during a ‘horror flight’ in Australia. According to the article the turbulent conditions prevented the Cathay Pacific flight from landing at Melbourne Airport (MEL), so it was forced to divert to Avalon Airport, southwest of Australia’s second largest city. But passengers who went through the unsettling experience were stranded on the plane for several hours after the aircraft made a safe landing. That was on 6am on Sunday, nearly seven hours behind schedule!

And finally to a nice piece of research from our friends at who has recently completed a review of which European airports are the cheapest taking into account the cost per kilometer it take to a given airport. The cheapest one turns out to be Oslo Gardermoen airport (OSL). You can read the full article here.

That’s all for this week – safe travels.

[Photo Credit: NIAID via Compfight cc]