Coronavirus: British Airways staff volunteer with NHS and other charities in battle agains

British Airways staff have stepped up to assist NHS staff on the frontline in a battle against the coronavirus. Though the British carrier has been pushed to furlough around 30,000 staff amid border closures and grounded flights, its staff remain active and are doing their part to tackle the virus.

Coronavirus travel: FCO imposes indefinite travel warning Flights: This simple move could boost your inflight experience

READ MORE Camilla comes out of self-isolation and joins NHS volunteer army

The airline has launched a company-wide task force who will bring relevant skills learned on the job to help nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals.

According to BA, the staff will bring “advanced first aid qualifications, combined with their natural passion for looking after people”, means that they can bring both technical training and natural kindness to a range of desperately needed roles for a range of organisations, including the NHS.

The airline has been in talks with a number of organisations in order to deploy its volunteers in the most useful way.

These include the NHS via their Helpforce team, which organises volunteers for the NHS and could involve working at the Nightingale hospitals being set up in London, Manchester and Birmingham  as well as transporting patients and NHS workers.

READ MORE:Queen sends message to NHS workers ‘in challenging circumstances’

British Airways crew have stepped up to help NHS workers in the COVID-19 battle (Image: Getty Images)Pilots helping out at Whittington hospital as part of Project Wingman (Image: Whittington Health)

Already crew and pilots have begun to offer their services at Croydon and Whittington Hospitals.

According to the Sutton and Croydon Guardian, 20 cabin staff are helping out at the hospital taking on tasks such as changing beds and helping patients use technology to contact their loved ones. This frees up vital time for doctors and nurses to focus on patient care.

Chief nurse Elaine Clancy who is leading the hospital’s response to COVID-19, told the Sutton and Croydon Guardian: “Our nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals are working tirelessly to provide the best possible care to our patients.

“Airline staff are first aid trained or hold other clinical qualifications as well as being security cleared, so they will be a great asset to our busy teams.”

Meanwhile, at Whittington Hospital pilots from a range of grounded airlines, including British Airways and BACityFlyer, pilots are keeping spirits high as part of Project Wingman.

DON’T MISS
Coronavirus: easyJet cabin crew to join NHS doctors and nurses [COMMENT]
Cabin crew reveals top tips for packing luggage light for flights  [INSIDER]
British Airways set to suspend thousands of staff amid coronavirus [UPDATE]

Flights: Virgin Australia flight attendant’s farewell speech on video Coronavirus map LIVE: ‘Elderly at risk’ as care homes take patients

The project, which has also teamed with easyJet and Norwegian pilots, has developed a “first-class lounge” for medical staff to come and enjoy a cup of tea and a chat at the end of shift.

The pilots continue to work in full uniform to add to the experience.

Speaking to Ham and High, BA Captain Dave Fielding, who is part of the response, said: “There are some amazing things going on.

“The idea is that we are using the skills we have as pilots and cabin crew to give the NHS staff a little bit of relaxation and just that feeling of them being looked after.”

British Airways is also working to pair volunteers who have first aid training and clinical skills with St Johns Ambulance or the London Ambulance Service.

BA new recruits with chief nurse Elaine Clancy (centre) who is flanked by senior nurses Jacquie Woodcock (on her left) and Chris Terrahe (on her right). (Image: @croydonhealth / CHS)

READ MORE China lockdown: How long was China on lockdown?

The airline has additionally paired with the British Red Cross with staff providing a helping hand at local food banks, as well as hospitals.

Staff have also begun to rally together to help charities such as Age UK to help elderly and vulnerable people get food deliveries, prescriptions, along with simply offering themselves to pick up the phone for a chat.

With the majority of its fleet now grounded, British Airways is donating its unused wash bags, socks and blankets to various NHS Trusts, and will be offering money from its Flying Start charity scheme, in partnership with Comic Relief, to communities hardest hit and most in need, such as those experiencing domestic violence or homelessness.

Trending Coronavirus: What are the symptoms? (Image: DX)

Louise Evans, British Airways’ Director of External Communications and Sustainability, said: “We’ve had an overwhelming response to our request for volunteers from across British Airways to help in the community fight against coronavirus.

“We’re part of the fabric of Britain and we want to play our role in these unprecedented times. Thanks to the nature of our business, we can contribute a unique set of skills from advanced first aid training, to experience caring for and reassuring people to managing complex logistics – all of which can deliver real care within the community.”

Express.co.uk has contacted BA for further comment on the scheme.