JetBlue’s New Partnership Aims To Protect Staff From COVID-19

While the coronavirus pandemic has caused passenger demand levels to drop sharply, airline staff remain on the front lines. Crew members come into close contact with hundreds of people over the course of a working day. This places them at a particularly high risk level in terms of interpersonal transmission of COVID-19. In response, American low-cost carrier JetBlue has developed a new partnership with Northwell Direct in order to keep its staff safe during the current crisis.

JetBlue A320 take-offJetBlue A320 take-off
JetBlue is the USA’s seventh-largest airline by passengers carried. Photo: Getty Images

Long-term health solutions

In a press release seen by Simple Flying, published earlier today, JetBlue announced its new partnership with healthcare provider Northwell Direct. The co-operation marks the latest development in the New York-based carrier’s ‘Safety From The Ground Up’ program.

As part of this, Northwell Direct will “provide the airline with a comprehensive set of COVID-19 services and programs to support its crewmembers (employees) across JetBlue’s operation.” The following aspects of the new partnership, which will deliver customized solutions for the airline, are being considered:

  • Testing approaches for its New York-based teams.
  • Clinical concierge services for crewmembers.
  • Consulting and advisory services for JetBlue’s leadership.
Jetblue grounded planesJetblue grounded planes
The downturn in passenger numbers caused by COVID-19 has seen airlines such as JetBlue ground large numbers of aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

The program is set to take a dynamic approach to the challenges posed to JetBlue by coronavirus. According to the airline’s aforementioned press release, it will “evolve and expand based on needs.” Its main aims are to “detect and prevent COVID-19 and to aid in the recovery of the airline industry.”

An established healthcare provider

The American healthcare industry is home to a wealth of private providers. Nonetheless, in Northwell Direct, JetBlue appears to have selected a strong partner. The company is an industry leader in terms of money spent on coronavirus-based research by a hospital-based laboratory. Specifically, it has “invested more than $30 million in COVID-19 testing equipment and supplies since the start of the pandemic.”

This investment has allowed Northwell Direct to treat over 93,000 coronavirus patients. This figure represents around 1% of all registered American cases[1] to date. Through the company, the airline’s tri-state crewmembers will have “24/7 access to expert guidance and assistance with questions or concerns.” Northwell Direct CEO Nick Stefanizzi said the following about its partnership with JetBlue:

“JetBlue’s leaders reached out to Northwell Direct because they believe, as we do, that the path to recovery is built on a foundation of health and safety. We’re proud to partner with them in supporting their crewmembers and in working to restore this vital sector of the economy.”

JetBlue, Ski Breaks, New RoutesJetBlue, Ski Breaks, New Routes
JetBlue was founded in August 1998 and commenced operations in February 2000. Photo: Getty Images

Bittersweet times for JetBlue

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, JetBlue has experienced rather mixed fortunes. As a result of the crisis, it has had to, for example, defer an Airbus order[2]. 2020 has also seen the departure from its old base at Long Beach[3] Airport (LGB), and delays to the launch of its long-awaited transatlantic flights[4] to London.

It hasn’t been all bad news in 2020 for the airline, however. Earlier this month, for example, JetBlue revealed its first Airbus A220[5] aircraft, of which it hopes to take delivery in December. It is also planning to launch a host of new routes over the winter, both domestically[6] and internationally[7]. This suggests that there may yet be a light at the end of the tunnel for ‘New York’s Hometown Airline’ after all.

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