Thousands Of UK Airline Crew Band Together To Support Healthcare Workers

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Exhausted frontline healthcare workers in the UK can now relax in airport-style first-class lounges in their workplace thanks to the "Project Wingman" initiative, where they can enjoy food and beverages, listen to some music, or just have some quiet time away from the hustle of the hospital setting.

Project Wingman is the brainchild of two airline pilots -- British Airways' David Fielding and easyJet's Emma Henderson – and clinical psychologist Professor Robert Bor.

With increasing numbers of airlines forced to ground their fleets in MAR due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trio came together to explore ways the aviation sector could support health staff during the crisis.

The two pilots then reached out to the aviation community, calling for volunteers to go into hospitals and set up special "Wingman Lounges" where healthcare employees can have a break. Through donations, the team creates a first-class lounge "feel" with food, drink, and sound systems.

“Whether it’s talking about experiences on the job, travelling, or simply being handed a cup of tea, Project Wingman’s exceptional airline crew are proud to be putting smiles on the faces of NHS workers across the country,” Project Wingman told FlightGlobal.

The name Project Wingman is a “nod to Top Gun” – the 1986 action film starring Tom Cruise – and rooted in the "famous camaraderie of aircrew" displayed in the film.

To date, more than 4,000 crew have answered the call from across “every UK airline” to volunteer for the project. Since the project’s initial launch on 2APR, the team has rolled out lounges in 23 hospitals with another two dozen hospitals in progress.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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