An American Airlines flight from Australia to Los Angeles was canceled Friday after a flight crew member tested positive for COVID-19.
American Flight 72 was due to leave Sydney at 9 a.m. local time but is now due to depart Saturday at 11 a.m., according to the airline’s website.
“An American Airlines flight that was due to depart Sydney this morning was postponed due to a possible COVID-19 case in a flight crew member. The crew member was tested as part of routine surveillance,” New South Wales health officials said in a statement.
It’s being called a possible case because it is not yet known whether the crew member, who had mild symptoms, is still testing positive from a previous COVID infection but is no longer infectious. Antibody tests will determine that, government officials said at a Friday news conference in Sydney.
The Daily Telegraph, a newspaper in Sydney, called the incident a “Covid scare at the airport.”
But an official at the news conference said positive tests among flight crews are a weekly occurrence.
“It’s not a surprise,” one official said. “Our flight crews are coming from countries where there is quite a lot of transmission of COVID.”
American was looking into the issue, airline officials told USA TODAY.
Australia is considered a major COVID-19 success story for its efforts to combat the spread of the virus, with White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci praising the country’s efforts last month.
Sydney has strict rules for flight crews. Pilots and flight attendants from outside the country are tested for COVID-19 upon landing and then are required to stay at a quarantine hotel and test every 5-7 days while in quarantine and again on Day 12, the last day of quarantine. Those who decline to be tested can’t leave quarantine.
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