Ebola impacts airlines' flight schedules

British Airways AP / Jack Plunkett

British Airways was the second major airline to announce cancellation of flights Tuesday out of countries impacted by the Ebola virus following the Emirates Airline announcement on August 2, 2014. Other carriers are still operating with at least five flights taking off today landing in European cities such as Paris, London and Brussels according to flightstats.com. Thirteen flights in total were scheduled for this week from affected countries to Europe.

As of August 1, 2014 there were 1009 confirmed cases spread primarily across three West African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone with one case in Nigeria. 887 people have died from the virus in Africa according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There are no direct flights scheduled to the US from the countries most affected but three flights landed today in Atlanta, Houston and New York from Nigeria where American Patrick Sawyer collapsed in the airport and died from Ebola five days after arriving in the capital.

Lufthansa Airlines owns Brussels Airlines which is still operating flights from Brussels to and from Liberia. Air France is also still operating flights from Guinea as well as Delta Airlines where the CDC says there have been 358 suspected case deaths.

A Delta spokesperson told CBS News via email "Delta is closely monitoring conditions at Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia to ensure safe and secure operation for customers and employees."

British Airways made their announcement saying flights would be canceled from Liberia and Sierra Leone through the end of August noting that the "safety of our customers, crew and ground teams is always our top priority and we will keep the route under constant review in the coming weeks".

40 year old Sawyer died of the virus five days after landing in Nigeria after flying ASKY airlines from Liberia. Witnesses say he was vomiting and had diarrhea aboard one of his flights with 50 other passengers.

Nigerian officials temporarily suspended ASKY airlines from flying into the country but allowed flights to resume on August 2nd according to the airline.

The American flight attendants union, the Association of Flight Attendants, told CBS they are following the situation and are working with airlines to ensure that Flight Attendants are aware of the latest information from the CDC.

At least one member of Congress, Rep. Alan Grayson D-FL has called for a temporary travel ban on all citizens of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Employees from US Customs and Border Protection have daily interaction with travelers arriving from West Africa. The agency is taking precautions and said if a traveler is identified as possibly having a communicable disease then "CBP personnel will take the appropriate safety measures by donning personal protective equipment (PPE), to include gloves and surgical masks, which are readily available for use in the course of their duties. "

  • Laura Strickler

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