airline employees train to assist in health care

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Filip Palmgren had wanted to work on planes since he was a child. Now, after just two years as a flight attendant, the 21-year old has lost his job because of the coronavirus crisis and will be soon heading to work in a hospital instead to help save patients.

He is part of a first group of 30 laid-off employees of Scandinavian Airlines who have started training this week to learn basic skills to assist in nursing homes and hospitals currently overwhelmed by a surging number of patients and ill medical staff.

Scandinavian Airlines, known also as SAS, announced in mid-March the temporary layoff of up to 10,000 employees, 90% of its workforce amid a drop in demand for international travel as governments clamped down on public events to contain the virus outbreak. With the help of a foundation, it is one of several airlines offering former staff the chance to work on the front line of the pandemic.

Palmgren says he signed up out of civic duty when he got the offer from his former employer.

“I immediately replied to the email,” he said. “I felt this was a very huge opportunity for me to help and to contribute to society and help the healthcare, which I think is very important in these times.”

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