Newly-appointed British Airways CEO Sean Doyle has made his first public appearance at the Airlines 2050 summit, in which he called for the introduction of pre-departure Covid-19 testing .

Doyle took over as BA’s chief executive last week, replacing Alex Cruz, and gave a keynote address aT the virtual aviation summit.

Doyle said that the carrier believed “the best way to reassure people is to introduce a reliable and affordable test before flying”.

“For the UK this approach reduces the stress on NHS testing systems within the UK and on policing the quarantine system,” he added.

Doyle also highlighted recent analysis from The International Air Transport Association (IATA) which concluded there was a low risk of catching Covid-19 inflight, with just 44 recorded cases across 1.2 billion passengers.

Low risk of catching Covid-19 on flights according to latest research

“The safety of its customers and crew is always our priority, and we are taking every safety measure to keep our customers safe,” said Doyle.

“This is a multi-faceted approach and includes minimising contact, sanitising our aircraft from nose to tail and asking customers and crew to wear face masks at all times, unless they have a medical exemption.

“In the cabin, air is completely replaced every two to three minutes, passing through HEPA filters which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over a 99.9 per cent efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.”

The full video of Doyle’s keynote address can be seen here.