How to stay safe from COVID-19 on business trips
As a long-time pilot and experienced operations manager, I am well aware of howeasy virus can spread in aviation. That is why, it is important to take allnecessary measures to make air travel virus free in these times. Safety duringflights is possible, however the risks in a regular passenger’s flight are high.Reducing your flying to a minimum or stop flying all together seems to be thebest option right now. But what if you really need to travel? This is the besttime to consider acquiring an aircraft for business trips.
Airlines flights are a risk right now for many reasons. Virus and bacteria can easily spread through the ventilation system of aircrafts. To avoid any risks, all air conditioning systems require careful and consistent maintenance, which can be both costly and complex. Maintenance procedures will depend upon each aircraft. Some units have a water separator instead of a filter system which should be maintained and replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions. Others have built-in HEPA filter systems. These filter around 97.8% of bacteria and viruses. This ensures great protection if changed frequently. However, it is very difficult to determine how often those filters are changed.
Ventilations systems are not the only means of contamination. Armrests, tray tables and windows can also spread germs if they are not cleaned properly. Disinfection sprays also work but are no guarantee of a fully clean environment inside the cabin. On top of that, they can even be harmful to the body. Will wearing a mask protect passengers from the risk of infection? Very little. Masks only prevent already sick passengers to affect others. The only way to be 100% safe from virus, would be to wear a full suit with an oxygen mask.
Of course, there are many preventive measures we can take personally. We have all heard of and read about them. Wash your hands, do not touch your face, strengthen your immune system with a healthy diet and exercise routine. But this still reduces but does not eliminate the risk of contracting a disease.
Fractional ownership (an aircraft being used by different owners) is still a risk at this time. It will be difficult to ensure that all safety and hygiene procedures are being respected at all times. As an operations manager, one of my main concerns is in safety and hygiene procedures. But how do you know if the filters are replaced regularly? Who guarantees this? How do you know if the aircraft has been disinfected after guests have used your fractional ownership aircraft before you? At most, have taken animals with them?
After all this, you still need to travel. Business and other urgent matters still require you to travel. Owning your own aircraft and having the right team to ensure that all safety and hygiene measures have been carefully followed is the safest solution to take of yourself, and the people around you who you care for. This is a possibility, and this is the best time to do it. You just need a team of experienced aviators who can who can advise you in finding the best option for you. Bondo aviation can guide you through the whole process, ensure all the measures have been taken, find the right crew for you and take care of all organizational procedures so that you rest assured that you are travelling safe.