COVID-19: U.S. Carriers taking measures to Protect Travelers
Airlines continue to work collaboratively with CDC, DOT, DHS, HHS and other Government agencies to prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of travelers.
Airlines are following guidance from the WHO and CDC to help contain and stop the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. Airlines below have enhanced their cleaning and disinfecting procedures, including using High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to clean the air.
American’s aircraft are cleaned at key touchpoints throughout the day with disinfectant, and all aircraft undergo a deep cleaning procedure on a regularly scheduled basis. Cleaning processes have been expanded to additional fogging procedures to disinfect hard and soft surface areas in public areas. International flights and aircraft with additional time on the ground receive a detailed cleaning package each day, and the airline is enhancing cleaning procedures on international flights and aircraft that remain overnight at airports. New measures will include utilizing an EPA-approved disinfectant on customer areas, such as seatbelt buckles, armrests and window shades, and in team member areas, including jump-seats and crew rest seats. In order to practice social distancing, seating policy has been relaxed on most flights — 50% of all standard middle seats will be blocked — and there will be reduced food and beverage options. Increased hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for crewmembers and customers. Additionally, masks are required for flight attendants on mainline and regional flights starting May 1. American will also begin distributing face masks to all customers as supplies allow.
Alaska Airlines has increased its cleaning procedures between flights and utilizing disinfectants that are effective against viruses in addition to regularly scheduled cleanings. Flights that remain overnight receive additional cleaning. Frequently touched surfaces such as arm rests, seat belts, tray tables, overhead controls, light buttons and door handles also receive additional treatment. Alaska has implemented seat restrictions to facilitate social distancing, reduced food and drink service and
suspended warm towel and blanket service in flight. Onboard recycling has been suspended and hand sanitizer has been deployed.
Delta has expanded its cleaning procedures to include aircraft fogging with an EPA-registered disinfectant on all domestic aircraft sitting on the ground longer than four hours as a part of Delta Clean, an elevated standard of cleaning measures. Additionally, all common surface areas in galleys and lavatories are cleaned with an approved disinfectant. Every aircraft is cleaned using the extensive checklist for overnight cleanings, which disinfects high-touch areas, such as seatback entertainment screens, seat-back pockets and tray tables, and all non-essential items have been removed from the seat pockets. Additionally, airport kiosks are disinfected multiple times a day, and Delta has increased the cleaning schedule of gate areas. Delta is also initiating a new back-to-front boarding process in order to reduce contact between passengers. Middle seats in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+ and Delta Premium Select have been blocked in order to enable social distancing, along with streamlined food and beverage service with a standard clear bag with snacks and water to reduce person-to-person contact. Hand sanitizer is also available at ticket counters, boarding gates, Need Help Centers, Baggage Service Offices and Sky Clubs for all employees and customers. Employees who come within six feet of customers or employees will be required to wear face coverings, and masks will be offered to passengers as an expanded safety measure.
Hawaiian follows detailed protocol for cleaning aircraft between flights, overnight and event-driven disinfection cleaning. Frequently touched areas including seats, seatbacks, headrests and in-flight entertainment monitors receive additional attention. Aircraft are disinfected after each transpacific flight, and interisland aircraft are cleaned after every flight into Honolulu and disinfected nightly. Hand sanitizer is broadly available throughout Hawaiian’s airport lobbies and offices, and counters and self-service kiosks are wiped down frequently. Additionally, disposable sanitizing wipes are available, and staggered seating has been implemented to maintain distance between guests.
JetBlue has increased aircraft cleaning each night and are utilizing disinfectant that is effective against coronavirus across frequently touched surfaces, such as tray tables, seat covers, armrests and seatbelts. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are widely available throughout terminals as well as on board flights, and common surface areas are disinfected frequently. Additionally, crewmembers are proactively reviewing seat assignments to ensure as much personal space as possible between passengers, and buffer zones have been created around crewmember jump seats for added safety. Food and beverage service have been limited, and hot towel service has been suspended. As a precautionary measure, all crewmembers are required to wear face coverings while working, and customers will be required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth starting May 4.
Southwest aircraft receive more than six hours of cleaning every night. Technicians use an EPA-approved, hospital grade disinfectant on touchpoints throughout the passenger cabin, such as seatbelt buckles, touch buttons, seat surfaces, tray tables and armrests. Southwest also has implemented electrostatic sprayers for aircraft cleaning on all overnight stops with expansions to treat the full fleet. The electrostatic solution utilizes a disinfection agent and antimicrobial cleaner to reach surfaces humans hands are unable to reach. These two videos highlight Southwest’s enhanced cleaning. In order to limit close interaction, all on-board beverage and snack services have been suspended, except for water.
United aircraft are cleaned at various touchpoints throughout the day. Any hard surface touched by customers and employees—including lavatories, galleys, tray tables, window shades and armrests—receive a thorough wipe-down with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner. If an employee or customer is exhibiting potential coronavirus symptoms, the aircraft is taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process. United has implemented electrostatic spraying on all inbound long-haul international flights and mainline overnight aircraft and will expand it to all departures beginning June. In airports, signage will encourage social distancing between customers and employees, including a six-foot tape rule at ticket counters and sneeze guards and key interaction points. Additionally, food service has been adjusted to minimize touchpoints and boarding will be done back-to-front by row in order to promote social distancing. Seats will be limited in all cabins, along with the middle seat blocked off, as well as fewer customers boarded at a time to allow for more distance. Customer service representatives also will proactively re-seat customers in order to practice social distancing, and in-flight service has been adjusted to limit person-to-person interaction. As an added measure of protection, flight attendants are required to wear a face covering, and masks will be made available to customers starting in early
How The Airlines & Aviation Industry Will Transform Coming Back From Coronavirus
World’s commercial airlines and other aviation businesses face significant financial stress and perhaps bankruptcy in the coming months from the unprecedented, unanticipated, and extensive shutdown of travel due to the rapid spread of Covid-19. Most airline companies only have two to three months of cash to cover their operations, according to IATA, but this hides massive variation in the financial strength of individual carriers. Top airlines generate more profits and have stronger balance sheets than in 2008, but most airlines remain financial walking wounded.
To prevent a catastrophic disruption to aviation, governments have started to unleash rescue packages for the industry. The aviation business got largely what they wanted via the $2 trillion stimulus package just signed into law.Nevertheless, the industry will need a huge amount of capital to cope up and several weaker airlines won’t survive as independents. A minor set of well-capitalized airlines makes sense for an industry with enormous exposure to external shocks, but it would be a mistake to assume the post-2020 industry will look the same as the one prior to the Covid-19 crisis.
The Aviation Industry’s Comeback from COVID-19
The long-term stance for aviation and travel continues to be positive. The primary global integration, economic growth and increasing consumer incomes and leisure time that has driven demand for these services faster than GDP growth for decades should continue to do so as the world recovers from the Covid-19 shock. How the industry aids that development as it evolves out of the crisis will depend in various key factors such as – volume will probably not regain its peak for at least 3-5 years depending on the distance segment and pricing recovery will lag volume recovery.
ADS-B OUT Mandates & deadlines
Aircrafts registered in Australia is required to be equipped with ADS-B avionics starting January 2 and foreign-registered aircraft must be ADS-B equipped by June 7 to be able to fly under IFR in Australia. Some aircraft operators can apply for a temporary exemption to the mandates until ADS-B avionics are installed.
The ADS-B Out requirement in Europe has been postponed from June 7, 2020 to Dec. 7, 2020 for aircraft receiving their certificate of airworthiness (C of A) on or after December 7. Aircraft that acquired their C of A between June 6, 1995 and June 6, 2020 must meet the ADS-B Out mandate by June 7, 2023. Both deadlines are applicable only to aircraft with an mtow exceeding 5,700 kg (12,566 pounds) or having a maximum cruising true airspeed capability greater than 250 knots. Aircraft with a C of A dated before June 6, 1995 are exempt from European ADS-B requirements.
Saudi Arabia delayed the start of ADS-B requirements in Class A and B airspace by a year from the earlier published original date of this past January. According to a recent notam start, the new start date is Jan. 21, 2021.
The implementation date of Feb. 25, 2021, for ADS-B use in Canadian domestic airspace, originally in Class A airspace and the expansion to include Class B airspace above 12,500 feet on Jan. 27, 2022, are no longer mandated. The mandate was lifted in response to stakeholder feedback that “more time is required to formulate for the ADS-B Out mandate.” Non-ADS-B-Out equipped aircraft will be accommodated within the airspace starting on those dates until a performance requirements mandate can be implemented.
New Zealand :
New Zealand is expected to adopt its proposal to make ADS-B mandatory for all aircraft in controlled airspace below Flight Level 245 starting on Dec. 31, 2021. Submissions on the country’s ADS-B proposal closed in April 2019.
ADS-B Out requirements for Mexico are delayed until Jan. 1, 2022. Originally, the mandate was scheduled to go into effect January 1. According to government officials, when the requirements do take effect, they will apply to operations in Mexico Class A, B, C, E airspace and Class E airspace above 10,000 feet. It is required now in Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico, at and above 3,000 feet msl within 12 nm of the Mexican coast.
FAA requirements for Aircraft Avionics test equipment
FAA requires certificated individuals who maintain airborne avionics systems to have test equipment suitable to perform that maintenance. The repair station technician must make sure that the test equipment used for such maintenance is the equipment called for by the manufacturer or equivalent. The test equipment must be capable of performing all normal tests and checking all parameters of the equipment under test. It is therefore crucial to do your homework when choosing the test equipment to purchase for your shop. You can download AC 43.13.1B Chapter 12 Sec 5 - Avionics Test Equipment here.