Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has suspended service to Conakry, Guinea, citing the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the West African country.
Emirates is the first major international carrier to halt service in response to the outbreak. Several carriers have begun screening passengers before they board flights out of the Ebola-affected areas.
?We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers, however the safety of our passengers and crew is of the highest priority and will not be compromised,? the airline said in a statement.
Emirates said its actions were ?guided by the advice and updates from the government and international health authorities.?
But neither the World Health Organization nor the International Civil Aviation Organization have called for a suspension of air service. Instead, the WHO has recommended that travelers going in and out of the affected areas simply be educated on how to avoid contracting Ebola.
The WHO also said that screening passengers at points of departure or arrival is not recommended and would not likely detect anyone infected with Ebola.
Air France, British Airways and Brussels Airlines are continuing flights into the region but are screening departing customers at African airports, Bloomberg News reported.
The virus, which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids or tissues of infected animals or people, has been blamed for the deaths of 887 people, according to the WHO.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the air in newer airplanes is cleaner than most people assume because up to half of cabin air is recirculated with outside air and passed through a series of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, up to 30 times per hour.
?As a result, the air cabin environment is not conducive to the spread of most infectious diseases,? the agency says.
Source: MCT Information Services