Synergy for the New Normal: Providing our passengers with the safest, cleanest, and most hassle-free flights, and ensuring crew is protected as they work are going to be our top priorities in the coming months. As the aviation world begins to open post-COVID, it’s important we have some form of synergy for this new normal to give our industry the best chance of quick recovery. As countries are beginning to communicate their standard operating protocols for private aircraft and charter operations, the benefits of countries streamlining their SOPs and creating one international standard are clear. It is also important for countries to work together to mitigate, and to be prepared to deal with, any potential second wave of COVID-19.
Any operator planning a mission at a time like this understands the challenges involved as different countries, regions – even different airports – scramble to ensure operational safety. Without a clear SOP delays, misunderstandings, and complications are inevitable. The creation of a global standard would mitigate this. Standards or guidelines should be based on health and safety practices laid out by regional business aviation associations, ICAO, IATA, and WHO to cover every aspect of the passengers’ and crews’ journey from ground handling, in-flight catering, customs and immigration, ground transport, and accommodation. It’s also crucial that aviation is treated in a more customized way with different approaches for commercial operations, cargo flights, business aviation, etc.
All ground transport providers should be expected to provide the same standard of cleaning and disinfecting while also complying with the requirements of their local government. Inflight catering providers will have to adhere to strict rules for the safe receipt, preparation, and delivery of food. Ground employees will have to follow the airports’ safety protocol, as well as the regulations as set out by their respective state governments. They will have to consider the necessity of social distancing, what PPE is required for which roles, as well as the sterilization procedures.
Reducing possible points of contact throughout the entry customer journey will be vital. The main concern of the passenger will be to complete their journey with the least possible risk of exposure. Employees must be given definite and detailed instructions for passenger and crew management, disinfecting procedures, facility management, aircraft handling, disinfection, and cleaning, and what to do if a passenger, crew member, or employee shows signs of infection.
If we have learned anything over the past few months, it is the necessity to come up with a global approach to manage pandemics of this kind in the future to ensure we’re not taken by surprise again as we have been this time. Having international operating standards for the containment of viruses would empower aviation to begin the new normal with the highest certainty of recovery that is available.
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