Airlines Asking Laid Off Flight Attendants to Work in Medical Fields

Officials in England are calling on laid off flight attendants to take temporary jobs in medical fields to help people impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

According to The Associated Press, the National Health Service of Britain has asked furloughed employees of easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and other airlines to work for hospitals being built to treat patients suffering from the viral infection.

The makeshift hospitals are being constructed inside convention centers in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Flight crew members with first-aid training are being recruited for support roles under the supervision of doctors and nurses.

Executives with several airlines in the United Kingdom have requested government support, with the companies announcing they would continue paying the salaries of employees working in the newly-constructed hospitals.

Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association chief executive officer Alison Verhoeven said flight attendants who have recently been laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak are typically easy to train for the transition to assisting medical staff, according to Forbes.

Earlier this month in the United States, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) was forced to square off against American Airlines over reduced in-flight services, hazard pay and expanded protection for members who test positive or are quarantined.

The concerns for airline employees are genuine, as American Airlines confirmed last week that one of its flight attendants, 65-year-old Paul Frishkorn of Philadelphia, died after contracting the coronavirus.

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