Air Seychelles together with the support of key stakeholders, has conducted an exercise to test the new procedures and measures to be implemented at the Seychelles International Airport for passengers, ahead of the resumption of commercial flights to the Seychelles.
As part of the readiness exercise, Air Seychelles conducted a simulation of a flight landing at the Seychelles International Airport with a full load of 168 passengers, including a suspected case of COVID-19 on board.
Besides assessing the crew operating procedures when managing a suspected case of infectious disease on board the aircraft as per their training, the exercise also tested the response of the Department of Health in collaboration with the Department of Risk and Disaster Management as well as all other key airport stakeholders when handling such a case.
Following public health guidelines to remain alert at the airport and for possible detection of symptomatic COVID-19 passengers, upon disembarkation from the aircraft, participants proceeded to the arrival lounge where their temperature was detected by the new Hikvision fixed bullet cameras installed by the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority. The efficient thermal cameras are able to detect temperature in one person, from one meter away.
Various scenarios which typically occur within an airport facility were also given to selected participants in advance, to further test the promptness of other stakeholders operating at the Seychelles International Airport as part of the readiness plan.
Head of Operations Support and Transformations at Air Seychelles, Mr. Mike Mousbe commented: “At Air Seychelles as we have operated several repatriation flights over the past months, the exercise conducted today has further provided the airline the opportunity to verify and review its procedures, ensuring all the requirements as per the standard operating procedure, are being met including that of the regulator.
“It is important to note that members of our cabin crew team have also been trained on how to tend to a symptomatic COVID-19 passenger by strictly following the approved procedures set by the Seychelles Department of Health.”
SCAA Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Wilfred Fock Tave said: “The drill was an opportunity for the Seychelles International Airport to test its new operational procedures and guidelines which have been put together through a well-coordinated efforts by an SCAA task force with the guidance of the Health Department.
“We acknowledge the importance of the opening of our borders for the country’s economy, but at the same time the safety of travellers and our staff as well as stakeholders remain our priority.
Hence, SCAA has invested in the latest temperature screening equipment, we have placed sensitization stations at the airport, put the necessary social distancing markings and have a new testing station set up by Public Health inside the international arrival lounge for random testing. We are hence confident that when a passenger leaves the airport, he or she has gone through all the necessary procedures and screening at the front line”.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN), Safety and Security Senior Disaster Management Officer, Mr. Daniel Cetoupe explained: “The Department is mandated under the Disaster Risk Management Act to conduct regular drills and exercise to test the preparedness to respond to disaster risks of sectors and the country as a whole.
“More so, in the current COVID-19 pandemic, Seychelles has not been spared from its effects.
Therefore, with the recent announcement of opening up the country for commercial flights on 1 August 2020, the Department has in collaboration with its key partners tested the new procedures and measures put in place for early detection and management of suspected COVID-19 cases and the safe entry of visitors into the country.
“Following this exercise, an evaluation will be conducted and recommended actions will be put forth to improve these processes and procedures.”
The successful exercise was conducted in partnership with the Department of Risk and Disaster Management, Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, Seychelles Tourism Board, Customs Department of the Seychelles Revenue Commission as well as the Immigration and Civil Status of Seychelles.