June 13, 2020

As operations continue to recover to pre-COVID levels, aircraft managers must adopt measures to protect the health of passengers and employees. A June 11, 2020 NBAA Leadership Council webinar addressed best practices for charter, fractional operators and aircraft management companies operating during the COVID pandemic and beyond.

The Leadership Council webinar – an installment in a series of biweekly sessions with NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and other experts – was sponsored by Jet Aviation.

“We, at Jet Aviation, continue to seek new ways to ensure that we can meet and exceed the requests of our clients with the help of our dedicated Aircraft Management, Charter, FBO and Staffing teams,” said Leslie Cheshier, vice president, owner and charter services of Jet Aviation Americas. ”Our teams have been incredibly agile, working together around the globe to do all they can to assist and service our clients’ needs while maintaining the highest safety standards and best practices. COVID has shown us how much stronger we are when working together.”

Bolen and Koester moderated a panel with:

  • Leslie Cheshier, vice president charter and owner services, Jet Aviation
  • Scott Cutshall, senior vice president of business operations, Clay Lacy Aviation
  • Chad Davidson, manager of fleet utilization and standardization, Solairus Aviation
  • Jennifer Guthrie, founder and CEO, In-Flight Crew Connections
  • Joe Salata, senior vice president, flight operations, Flexjet

Despite the sharp decrease in traffic in April, the panelists reported a recent uptick in trip requests. Davidson reported Solairus operations at about 50 to 60% normal levels in early June, and an increase in requests from customers new to business aviation.

Earning the trust and cooperation of passengers is essential, said Cutshall, as well as teamwork among aviation personnel.

Best practices recommended by the panelists include:

  • Treating aircraft with antimicrobial chemicals
  • Disinfecting aircraft between flights
  • Health screening for employees and passengers
  • Self-monitoring for symptoms
  • Encouraging use of PPE, including masks and gloves
  • Establishing pilot greeting practices, including baggage handling and identification checks, that consider social distancing
  • Requiring passengers to confirm they have no symptoms and have not been exposed to someone with COVID

The experts encourage aviation organizations to leverage their safety management system processes to mitigate risk and drive continuous improvement.

“This is something we are going to be living and working with for years and years to come,” said Cutshall, who reported Clay Lacy assembled cross-functional teams to consider different touch points across the whole organization.

Cheshier reported Jet Aviation’s SMS has also played a key role in mitigating risk of COVID-19 for pilots and passengers.

“It’s not only saying safety is the No. 1 priority – it’s living it,” she said.

Leadership Council webinars provide a unique opportunity for members to share their experiences with their peers and hear from industry experts.

NBAA’s Leadership Council supports the association’s mission to promote an environment that fosters business aviation in the U.S. and around the world. Interested in joining the Leadership Council? Visit NBAA’s website.

View the Leadership Council webinar.