LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 22, 2020: LOWER NORTH SHORE - CISSS DE LA COTE NORD HAD REQUESTED PASSENGER CAPACITY LIMIT ON AIR LIAISON FLIGHTS DUE TO COVID-19
During the press brief held yesterday afternoon (April 21) by the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, a question was asked regarding the procedure for the hospital air carrier, Air Liaison, after passengers were complaining of flights being to full capacity last week on the Lower North Shore and that no directives were being issued by the airline staff for passenger distancing.
Dyane Benoît claimed to have been aware of the situation and that an intervention had been made with the transporter to resolve the situation. Ms. Benoît, the Deputy Director General of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, stated that the CISSS had transmitted clear protocols to the air transport, particularly regarding the disinfection of the aircraft.
CFBS reached out to Pascal Paradis, Communication advisor, Human Resources and Communications of Legal Affairs for the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, to obtain more details on what protocol the CISSS had asked of its medical air carrier, Air Liaison. This was the response received from Mr. Paradis by email:
"Distancing between passengers is on a voluntary basis on the part of carriers. Transport Canada has not issued a directive on this matter. A directive has been issued by Transport Canada on the arrangements to be made when booking and before boarding. The CISSS de la Côte-Nord asked the carrier not to take more than 8 passengers per flight."
CFBS was made aware of the situation yesterday morning when a lady from Blanc-Sablon, who was on board an Air Liaison flight last week for medical reasons, had mentioned that passengers were not given any directions on social distancing, were seated in close contact to each other on the flight, and that the plane was near full to capacity.
CFBS has also reached out to Air Liaison for a statement regarding their protocols, more information to come.