April 22, 2020

The threat of COVID-19 exposure and impact of state-issued shelter-in-place orders have depressed activity at general aviation airports, though FBOs are meeting the need to keep customers safe.

Troy Hyberger, FBO services manager at Duncan Aviation, said the COVID-19 pandemic means hardly any transient traffic, so “a lot of FBOs are feeling the pinch right now.”

With April flight activity projected to be down at least 44% from last year, Duncan and other FBOs have reduced staff hours to address decreased activity. Hyberger said Duncan Aviation’s maintenance facilities are relatively busy, but some aircraft are unable to leave Duncan’s facilities due to international travel restrictions or COVID-19-related challenges.

FBOs also report implementing new disinfecting practices for aircraft and facilities, and training staff members on how best to mitigate virus exposure and spread. Other safety measures include suspending dish cleaning services, using disposable dishes, and only serving pre-packaged beverage and snack options.

According to Hyberger, Duncan Aviation disinfects aircraft for coronavirus prior to beginning maintenance work and offers disinfecting services to customers prior to pick up. He noted they’ve seen daily increases in demand for disinfecting services.