Here’s what ground service providers are doing to support business aviation.
By Pro Pilot staff
The world is in the grip of a pandemic. Among the activities that are affected is transportation, and aviation is not immune.
Because of this, airport closures and flight cancellations are commonplace worldwide. On April 26, 2020, US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened only 128,875 passengers.
On the same date in 2019, 2,506,809 travelers passed through TSA checkpoints.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) projects a shortfall this year of 1.2 billion air travelers, which represents between $160 and $253 billion in revenue losses for the industry in 2020. Authorities advise to keep flight activities limited to essential missions.
And although it’s best to stay home, whenever business aviation operators need to travel somewhere, there are ground service providers ready to assist them.
If you must travel, be prepared, and take all passenger, crew, and aircraft precautions. Here’s what you can expect at FBOs in the US and abroad.
Hong Kong Business Av Centre
HKBAC is maintaining normal service. “Safety is our top priority,” says Asst Mgr Business Devt Henry Ho.
The FBO has deployed extra manpower for ground handling support in order to fulfill all special procedures imposed by the HKSAR Government during the time of the pandemic.
Customers visiting HKBAC are checked for abnormal temperature on arrival before gaining access to the terminal lounge, which is now permitted only to passengers and crews.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available, and all staff members are required to wear surgical masks.
Flexible working hours are in place for non-operations staff in order to avoid large crowds during peak hours of public transportation, and frequency of disinfection has been increased at the facilities.
Farnborough Airport continues to operate, providing service to its customers and the business aviation community.
The airport is following clinically-driven medical advice from the relevant authorities on what measures are required to deal with Covid-19.
This includes providing hand sanitizers throughout the airport, and enhancing its already thorough cleaning procedures with a specific focus on the regular cleaning of hard surfaces.
Based at FXE (Ft Lauderdale Exec, FL), Banyan has all departments open 24/7, although most of them have a reduced work schedule.
The FBO is being sanitized every 6 hours, with hand sanitizers available at all reception desks.
Hand-washing and social distancing reminders are posted throughout, and plexiglass barriers have been installed at the front desk.
Aircraft arriving from “hot zones” are parked away from the terminal.
In these cases, all crew/pax must fill out a Department of Health Mandatory Self-Isolation Airport Travel form, the crew must handle all baggage, and services and payment are done at the aircraft.
Operators visiting Banyan during this period include Part 91, 91K, charter, air ambulance, and law enforcement.
Operations remain normal, with the exception of slight operational hour adjustments at a few bases. Changes to an individual base’s operations are updated on the company’s website (sheltairaviation.com).
Sheltair has adapted its protocols in light of the Covid-19 pandemic to remain efficient, operational, and, above all, safe.
This includes following CDC’s and NATA’s guidelines while adjusting work areas for social distancing, adapting work schedules to safely maintain operational continuity, elevating cleaning protocols, suspending crew car and courtesy rides, processing with hands-free programs like Avfuel Contract Fuel and the AVTRIP Loyalty Program.
Also increasing communications to loyal tenants and operators, and offering new short-term hangar and ramp leasing options.
Activities are running as usual, but with enhanced measures to prevent contamination. “We are committed to ensuring the health of our employees and clients,” says Marketing Manager Daniela Valadares.
The company has offered air medical and ICU transport since 1992, and has a fleet of turboprops and helicopters configured according to the requirements for aeromedical removal.
The Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency issued Líder with an extraordinary authorization for biological cargo transport due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so the company is now working with hospitals, labs, and logistics companies to transport laboratory exams, biological samples, vaccines, medicines, medical equipment, and hospital supplies.
To ensure visiting customers are handled in the safest possible way, an emergency committee was created which monitors closely and evaluates the situation and FBO bases, charter demands, special requests, and employees’ needs.
Manny Aviation Services
MAS provides handling services at most airports in Mexico. Its clientele includes Part 91 and 135 operators, but the company also supports demo, experimental, and diplomatic flights.
Besides the regular services, during this special period, MAS has taken special care of medevac operations, humanitarian missions, and repatriation flights.
In addition, the company coordinates ground ambulance services.
MAS Senior Shift Supervisor Roberto Lara explains that work schedules are verified on a day-to-day basis, and they depend on location.
Aerosupport FBO is committed to preserving its clients’ and associates’ health and safety, while reassuring it continues to serve its customers – especially at these times.
The company’s promise is to guaranty that all of its client’s operations comply with the standards required by civil aviation and airport authorities so heir flight operations remain active.
The Aerosupport FBO team is capable of managing situations like this, and works constantly with the pertinent authorities to keep associates up to date with the most current and confirmed information in order to always ensure high quality service.
Aerosupport FBO professionals are ready to handle top-priority flights, including repatriation operations, humanitarian flights, medevac missions, and tech stops.
While the pandemic has shut down many businesses, all of Meridian’s private aviation services are currently open and operational, including both FBOs at TEB (Teterboro NJ) and HWD (Hayward CA), charter operations, aircraft management, and aircraft maintenance and detailing.
Meridian has taken precautions at its facilities and aboard its aircraft, including disinfecting aircraft with NBAA-approved cleaning products and UV air purification equipment, performing trip-by-trip risk analysis with regard to Coronavirus-affected areas, and training crew members in the recognition of sick passengers and how to handle people who show signs of sickness in flight.
In addition, teams rotate to work from home and in the office to ensure bases are appropriately staffed with healthy individuals.
Clay Lacy Aviation
Clay Lacy Aviation now provides comprehensive aircraft cleaning and disinfecting services at the company’s maintenance centers and through its mobile response teams using bipolar ionization equipment and EPA-registered, aviation-approved products to clean and disinfect aircraft interiors.
Services are also provided by mobile response teams within 100 miles of VNY (Van Nuys CA), CLD (McClellan-Palomar, San Diego CA), SNA (John Wayne Orange Co, Santa Ana CA), and BFI (Boeing Field, Seattle WA).