Novel Coronavirus hits Aviation hard around the Globe
A potpourri of Stories of how COVID has hit this industry
Also included are examples of Aviation is responding positively
In these difficult times, the COVID-19 news is overwhelming and it is useful to keep track of the aviation items. The JDA Journal will try to collect and periodically post a selection of these articles. There is a certain randomness to inclusion and hopefully this digest will be interesting, thus the term POTPOURRI.
General aviation industry ready to assist in any way possible.
“The general and business aviation industries are comprised of a diverse fleet, capable of rapidly responding to needs in every part of the country and transporting time-sensitive supplies, medical and testing equipment, organ transplants, and key personnel and patients to over 5,000 general aviation airports,” they wrote. In addition to AOPA, the groups signing the letter included the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association, and the National Business Aviation Association.
Like much of the country, the Federal Aviation Administration is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases at air traffic facilities and other offices across the nation.
Despite the challenges, our commitment to safety will not waver.
Our air traffic system is resilient and flexible. Every air traffic control facility in the country (PDF) has a contingency plan (PDF) to keep air traffic moving safely when events impede normal operations. In some cases, this means transferring duties to adjacent facilities.
Air traffic controllers, technicians and safety inspectors are highly trained professionals who play critical roles in safely and efficiently moving tens of thousands of aircraft and millions of passengers — 24 hours a day, every day.
Our agency’s mission is to operate the world’s largest and most complex airspace system. But we have an equal obligation to ensure the health and safety of our employees.
Each disruption has a distinct impact on the air traffic system. We are experiencing this at the handful of facilities already affected by COVID-19. This is frustrating and inconvenient, but is necessary in the interest of safety.
We will do our best to keep the public abreast of a rapidly changing situation. Passengers can check fly.faa.gov for real-time updates about how the air traffic system is performing.
We appreciate the public’s support and patience.
“They include the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center in Long Island, which handles a broad swath of airspace; the air traffic control towers at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia airports in New York; executive airports in Leesburg, Va., and Long Island; and facilities in Peoria, Ill. and Wilmington, De., in addition to previously reported cases in Las Vegas, Indianapolis and Chicago.”
A detailed, comprehensive and extraordinarily informative assessment of global and sector impacts.
“’As soon as that shelter-in-place order came down from the New York governor, man, the flights took off and they just got the heck out of dodge,’ DeSantis said.
‘We wish our friends in New York well, they have a tough fight,’ he said, ‘but we also have to protect our folks here in the state of Florida.’
The order, beginning Tuesday, requires people arriving by air from any location with “substantial community spread” to isolate themselves for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. Airline employees and professionals responding to the coronavirus emergency are exempt, including military and health officials.”
The mayor of Ketchikan has written a letter to the Dunleavy administration seeking assistance in restricting non-essential air travel into isolated communities such as Ketchikan.
“With pressure mounting over Americans stranded outside the United States because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions, the government plans to use its planes that deport migrants to bring U.S. citizens home, a senior administration official said Monday.
The use of repurposed deportation flights is one of several actions the State Department is taking to retrieve thousands of Americans grounded in foreign countries since the U.S. began closing its borders and barring arrivals from some nations, in an effort to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus. At the same time, commercial airlines dramatically cut back on flights.”
“So, we’ve decided to donate our entire supply of the personal protective equipment items listed below to front line hospitals with 24 hour emergency rooms in the communities served by our stores.
- N95 Masks
- Face Shields
- 5 and 7 mil Nitrile Gloves
“In a time of unprecedented crisis worldwide, United Airlines on Tuesday began urgently pushing out a new brand message on social media: ‘United Together.’
The Chicago-based carrier also introduced a new brand logo with that specific message. The logo is intended to emphasize the airline’s approach to business as the coronavirus crises continues worldwide.”
“…The coronavirus outbreak has pushed so many planes out of service that the business of storing aircraft is taking off, with some remote airports parking more and more planes on seldom-used runways and taxiways…
The biggest aircraft storage operations are in desert facilities in places such as Victorville, Roswell, N.M., and Tucson, where humidity is low and the runways and taxiways are long enough to accommodate any size of commercial plane.
Although airport operators say the business of aircraft storage is surging now, they don’t expect to reach capacity anytime soon.
‘We still have a lot of room,’ said Scott Stark, director of the Roswell International Air Center. The 5,000-acre facility, located about six miles south of the city of Roswell, can accommodate about 800 planes but is currently storing about 275.
The GAO told the government in 2015 to develop a plan to protect the aviation system against an outbreak. It never happened.
“In a 2015 report on its findings, the GAO recommended that the Transportation Department step up and craft the plan, but it has resisted. Even as the coronavirus outbreak began, the Transportation Department said that the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security needed to step in, said Heather Krause, a GAO official.”
All of the 14 airports and 3 airlines GAO reviewed have plans for responding to communicable disease threats from abroad, although the United States lacks a comprehensive national aviation-preparedness plan aimed at preventing and containing the spread of diseases through air travel. U.S. airports and airlines are not required to have individual preparedness plans, and no federal agency tracks which airports and airlines have them. Consequently, it is not clear the extent to which all U.S. airports and airlines have such plans. The plans GAO reviewed generally addressed the high-level components that GAO identified as common among applicable federal and international guidance, such as establishment of an incident command center and activation triggers for a response. GAO identified these components to provide a basis for assessing the breadth of the plans. The plans GAO reviewed for each airport were developed by, or in collaboration with, relevant airport stakeholders, such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) airport staff. As provided in Annex 9, the Chicago Convention, an international aviation treaty to which the United States is a signatory, obligates member states to develop a national aviation-preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and CDC officials contend that some elements of such a plan already exist, including plans at individual airports. However, FAA has reported that individual airport plans are often intended to handle one or two flights with arriving passengers, rather than an epidemic, which may require involvement from multiple airports on a national level. Most importantly, a national aviation-preparedness plan would provide airports and airlines with an adaptable and scalable framework with which to align their individual plans—to help ensure that individual airport and airline plans work in accordance with one another. DOT and CDC officials agree that a national plan could add value. Such a plan would provide a mechanism for the public-health and aviation sectors to coordinate to more effectively prevent and control a communicable disease threat while minimizing unnecessary disruptions to the national aviation system.
“The temporary suspension will first affect MTU’s manufacturing facilities in Munich, Germany, and Rzeszów, Poland, where engines are assembled or engine components manufactured. Activities will be ramped down by the end of the week in a coordinated approach.”
“…Boeing will suspend operations at its Seattle area facilities due to the spread of coronavirus, idling tens of thousands of aerospace workers, the company said Monday.
At least 95 people have died from COVID-19 in Washington state, mostly in the Seattle area. Boeing employs about 70,000 people in the region. The company said 32 employees have tested positive for the virus, including 25 in the greater Seattle area.
Operations would be reduced beginning Wednesday, Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement, and production would be suspended for two weeks.
‘This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,’ he said.”
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): • FAA is vetting and revising draft regulatory guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). On March 12, 2020, as a joint effort with the CDC, FAA the issued a Safety Alert for Operators recommending precautions for air crewmembers to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus onboard aircraft or through air travel.
- FAA is involved with several projects to continue the repatriation of U.S. nationals, movement of essential goods and services, and other services to combat COVID-19: o Maintaining an airbridge to bring American nationals safely home; o Funneling returning Americans to designated airports for health-screenings; o Suspending entry to non-citizens from affected areas; o Continuing air and sea cargo traffic between foreign trading partners; o Shaping health protocols to protect aircraft crews; and o Disseminating health information to airlines.
- FAA is providing relief for airlines by temporarily waiving airport slot rules. Generally, airlines that hold slots at slot-controlled airports such as JFK, LGA, and DCA, must use their slot 80 percent of the time or else they forfeit their slot. Given the tremendous drop in air traffic, FAA is currently waiving application of the “use-or-lose” rule for the time being so that carriers do not have to fly “ghost flights.”
- More Information: website
“During this challenging moment and beyond, NBAA is committed to remaining essential to its members, providing the valued content they want, in the format most useful to them,” Bolen concluded. “We welcome all feedback regarding these new offerings, including specific suggestions about the news and other topics of most relevance to our community.” NBAA members with feedback can contact NBAA’s Senior Vice President, Communications Dan Hubbard
Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants as the country’s largest airline cuts routes amid plunging demand. The Montreal-based carrier is laying off about 3,600 employees, plus 1,549 flight attendants at its low-cost subsidiary Rouge, according to Wesley Lesosky, head of the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The layoffs will take effect by April and affect roughly 60% of flight attendants. Air Canada says it will suspend most of its international and U.S. flights by March 31. The carrier says employees will be returned to active duty status once flights resume.
Periodically a similar sampling of COVID-19 stories will be published. The hope is that this feature is not repeated many times.
 From the 1610s, “mixed meats served in a stew,” from French pot pourri “stew,” literally “rotten pot”
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