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Frontier keeps A320 grounded out of caution over Ebola fears

A Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 that had earlier transported an Ebola patient is being kept out of service for "a little while longer", says the carrier.

The aircraft, registration N220FR, was taken out of service by the airline on 15 October after authorities found that a heathcare worker who had tested positive for Ebola had flown on the aircraft on flights between Cleveland and Dallas/Fort Worth.

"We are using an abundance of caution because the public does not completely understand the risks associated with Ebola and how it is transmitted," says Frontier president Barry Biffle in a letter to employees. "Therefore, to ensure our customers have no fears about flying our aircraft, we have chosen to keep Finn away from the other animals for a little while longer."

Frontier's aircraft have pictures of animals painted on the tails, and Finn is the name of the tiger shark on this particular A320.

A Frontier spokesperson declines to specify when the aircraft will return to service, and tells Flightglobal that the A320's seat covers, carpets and environmental filters have been replaced. The airline has also removed the crews, who operated the flights that the patient was on, from flying for 21 days.

In what appears to be a move to reassure the public, Frontier chief executive David Siegel and chief operating officer Bill Meehan flew on the A320 from Denver to Newark on 17 October for media interviews. "If Finn wasn’t safe, Dave would have sent me to New York on Finn," says Biffle in the letter to employees.

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