MINNEAPOLIS — Improving passenger confidence will be an essential step in helping the U.S. airline industry bounce back from a significant downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delta Air Lines is taking a big step in that direction by partnering with Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic to develop and improve COVID-19 infection control measures for both customers and employees. Delta says the partnership marks another significant step in the airline's efforts to build on its foundation of care and cleanliness, known as the Delta CareStandard, to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 during travel.
"There’s nothing more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers. And there’s no organization in the world better equipped than Mayo Clinic to act, essentially, as Delta’s medical advisor for safety during COVID-19," says Delta CEO Ed Bastian. "The role Mayo will play in testing our employees and advising on safety practices at airports and workspaces will help deliver the additional layers of protection needed to safeguard our customers and employees."
Delta says Mayo experts will help the airline implement a COVID-19 testing program for its entire work force. Mayo Clinic laboratories designed the program, are assisting in performing and processing the tests and will analyze results to identify larger trends in coronavirus transmission.
Mayo Clinic teams will work with Delta to review current customer-facing protocols and safeguards, and advise how to reduce COVID-19 risks moving forward. The clinic will also develop a best practices guide for customers on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to guard against transmission of the virus.
"The health and safety of employees and customers continues to be our priority during this time of unprecedented uncertainty," says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Mayo Clinic. "Mayo Clinic’s expertise in infection prevention and control, as well as our research on COVID-19, provides us with expert insight to support Delta through advisory services, helping to implement best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
The Mayo Clinic has been recently credited for its role in helping Governor Tim Walz and state health officials reach their "moonshot" COVID-19 testing capacity of 20,000 tests per day.