AviationManuals outlines COVID-19 procedures
Suggestions for Flight, Ground, ERP, and FBO Planning
AviationManuals, the leading provider of digital operations manuals, has recommended procedures to address aircraft operator issues surrounding private aviation operations as governments throughout the world respond to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
"Formalized procedures in the form of quality operations manuals and an Emergency Response Plan can really help with preparedness and planning in times like these," said AviationManuals CEO Mark Baier. "To prevent the spread of the disease, authorities stepped up precautionary measures, so it's good for everyone in an operation to be on the same page," he added.
"We try to cover some highlights for national and international flights as well as ground operations," Baier said. "Above all, be safe and remember this is not just about how dangerous the disease is, but really about being a part of the effort to help stem its spread."
If you can't avoid travelling, there are many factors to keep in mind. Below is a partial list.
If you have an option of meeting remotely, changing your destination, or delaying your meeting, you may save yourself a lot of trouble, while also protecting yourself and loved ones from exposure.
If you can't sidestep a challenging area, be sure that part of your preflight planning is to review what authorities are saying about health-related data in the region.
If you are flying to regions with known COVID-19 infections, keep in mind that your crew and passengers may be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days upon return, so prepare accordingly.
Locate suitable and safe airports for an emergency landing in advance of the flight. If you're flying over a remote area you may not have medical support readily available.
Prepare and review your "escape" plan. In the event you would need to suddenly evacuate your crew and passengers from your destination, having a plan at hand will help you coordinate your steps to leave as quickly as possible while mitigating the risks of spreading the disease or becoming infected.
Consider factors such as the flight crew becoming ill, potential limitations to airports of entry, and best practices upon landing. These procedures should be integrated into your Emergency Response Plan (ERP).
Most important during any kind of epidemic, including COVID-19, insist everyone - crew and passengers - wash their hands frequently and correctly. Proper hand washing should be done with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. Sterilize surfaces frequently.
In addition, plan on bringing additional supplies such as face masks, disinfectants and wipes, a disease kit, and don't forget to keep your first-aid kit fully stocked. Check expiration dates.
Take care when touching surfaces multiple people come into contact with, like widely used touch screens, since some viruses can survive extended periods on common surfaces.
Engage prior to flying with a medical service provider, such as Medaire for additional assistance.
For catering, make sure food is kept at the right temperature and handled with gloves and utensils to prevent food poisoning and cross-contamination. Verify that seals placed on food containers by the catering vendor are intact prior to consumption. Ensure that anyone handling food or dishes has washed their hands to prevent the spread of viruses.
Keep the contact details of your crew and passengers on hand so you can reach them quickly. Take the time to find out where local hospitals or emergency centers are that can help and test. Finally, know your insurance policy, in case you need to be repatriated.
No matter the size of your operation, everyone should follow the same steps and procedures. A smaller company may have fewer resources available, but may be able to rely on third-party handlers to help.
Communicate with Air Traffic Control in case you need to schedule an emergency landing, or if you require medical equipment and personnel upon arrival. Keep your emergency procedures written down and readily available.
If you suspect a specific onboard infection like COVID-19, be sure to let ATC know so the destination airport can prepare extra health related measures if required. A number of large airports are developing quarantine procedures and locations.
In the air, your crew should know who is doing what when it comes to first-aid. If you have a flight attendant, you'll have more flexibility than with a one or two-pilot crew. Know what to do in case a crew member is incapacitated.
On the Ground
On the ground - while away and at home base - have a set procedure in place identifying who will, or is, able to provide first aid and who will be responsible for calling emergency services. Although pilots generally have first-aid training, look into providing this to your ground operations and maintenance teams as well. Knowing your ERP well can save precious time.
For international travel, upon arrival in your destination country, monitor real-time developments by checking news updates. Maintain basic hygiene standards, such as washing your hands and keeping a safe distance from people who are showing symptoms. Try to avoid large crowds or even small social gatherings and consider limiting the number of places you visit and remain in your hotel or residence as much as you can.
Despite taking precautions, if one of your crew or passengers becomes sick, whether in-flight or after you've landed, you need to know what to do. Make sure your ERP covers this.
For Fixed Based Operators (FBOs), travel related health is also an issue. FBOs are constantly handling aircraft from around the world and their personnel are meeting and interacting with people from everywhere.
Ensure all employees frequently and properly wash their hands. During viral outbreaks (such as the flu) consider alternatives to handshakes.
Have masks on hand and make them available to arriving crews and passengers, as requested.
If you are in an area at high risk of infection transmission, monitor your team for symptoms.
If an employee begins to exhibit symptoms, have them wear a mask, seek medical attention, and refrain from coming to work until a medical professional determines it is safe for them to return.
Prepare for potential staff shortages or temporary closings and have a plan in place. If someone on your team becomes infected it may spread to multiple team members or health officials may force the closure of your facility until it can be disinfected.
AviationManuals supports a client base that operates over 4,500 aircraft worldwide, including 62 Fortune 100 company flight departments. Based in the Washington, DC area, the company provides digital operations manuals with update services, as well as SMS software and iPad apps for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, drone operators, and FBOs worldwide. Founded in 1996, the company has produced thousands of manuals. www.aviationmanuals.com.