By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) United Airlines, in partnership with foreign carriers, still is marketing and selling travel aboard its planes among the Chinese city of Xiamen, Saipan, and Guam.
United Airlines planes, with stopovers in Beijing Capital International Airport aboard Air China, and Narita aboard All Nippon Airlines, are carrying passengers from China to Guam and Saipan, and vice versa.
Anyone can book these flights on United Airlines's online app.
Flights to and from other Coronavirus hotspots, such as Korea and Japan continue as usual, though it is China travel that was the original target of a presidential crackdown on flights.
Kandit Saturday broke the news of two United Airlines Boeing 777 planes that arrived on Guam Friday directly from Xiamen.
Rolenda Faasuamalie, Guam International Airport Authority spokeswoman, told Kandit that the flights were "tech stops" en route to San Francisco. She said no passengers were on board.
Neither Ms. Faasuamalie, Guam Homeland Security, nor United Airlines answered our questions whether any of the crew disembarked while on Guam, or whether anyone from Guam entered the planes.
The airport still is waiting for thermal scanners on order, according to the Leon Guerrero administration.
Meanwhile, Guam still has not received Coronavirus test kits. Dr. Thomas Shieh has expressed concerns that local infection may be possible and that the claim that there are no confirmed cases of the virus may be deceiving because of the lack of testing.
United Airlines chief executive officer Oscar Munoz early this morning issued a message to its customers globally, which we reprint here in its entirety below:
I consider you part of our United family and your safety remains our highest priority. We are in the business of serving people and in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak it's important that we give you as much flexibility as possible when planning your next trip. But it's also important that we give you as much information as possible about the procedures we follow to clean our aircraft and maintain a sanitary environment once we're in the air. Our teams are in daily contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), federal agencies and other global health organizations to share the most up-to-the-minute information to ensure the actions we're taking are comprehensive and appropriate. So today, I wanted to personally reach out and share a few of the steps we are taking for you, our customer: Before you fly To give you the greatest flexibility, when you book any flight with us now through March 31, you can change it for free over the next 12 months – any ticket, any fare type, any destination. On the ground Our team of in-house medical experts and industrial hygienists oversee our aircraft cleaning procedures to ensure they meet or exceed all CDC guidelines. Hard surfaces such as lavatories, tray tables, window shades and armrests are thoroughly wiped down with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner. And when we are advised by the CDC of a person who has traveled on board and is potentially exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, that aircraft is taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process that includes our standard cleaning procedures plus washing ceilings and overhead bins and scrubbing the interior. In the air Our aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art circulation systems, similar to those found in hospitals, which use a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter to circulate the air and remove more than 99% of airborne particles. We're also adjusting our inflight service to limit person-to-person contamination. This includes handing beverages directly to customers instead of allowing customers to touch a tray and ensuring all flight attendants wear gloves during service. More information on each of these efforts can be found on the United Hub. I know I speak for every member of our United family when I say that we take the greatest pride in the role we play in the lives of our customers, personally and professionally. I want you to know that you can continue to rely on us. So, the next time we have the privilege of welcoming you aboard our aircraft, you can know our commitment to you remains as steadfast as ever. Kind regards, Oscar Munoz CEO