Wash Your Hands!

From NAFI's Chair

Wash Your Hands!

Understandably, concern about the novel Coronavirus, or, more properly, Covid-19 has both spread and become more intense. Those concerns have caused the government in Italy to impose emergency measures to contain the pandemic, virtually quarantining the entire country, which, according to the BBC, has been hit hardest after China. Closer to home there have been deaths and an increase in reported cases in the United States, while Americans are asked to take common sense precautions to stop the spread of the disease, and there have been reported shortages of, all things, toilet paper due to panic buying.

All of this, of course, has affected the aviation industry.   CAPA Centre for Aviation reports that international air travel is down significantly, and U.S. air carriers have cut back on flights. Gary Keller, CEO of Southwest Airlines, has said that his company has seen a sudden drop in bookings and rise in cancellations that he attributes to people's concerns about the pandemic. In efforts to both do their part in prevention and to reassure the traveling public most U.S. airlines have detailed in direct emails to their customers their procedures to clean and disinfect aircraft that exceed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidelines.

There is an economic cascade effect resulting from the reduction in airline flights, affecting not only global oil prices (they use jet fuel; if they fly less they buy less) but the pay checks of everyone from flight crew, to ground crew to taxi and Uber drivers, and rental car companies, to say nothing of the tourism industry. That effect is hard to quantify but will no doubt get worse the longer the virus is active. Global airlines stand to lose $113 billion in sales if the coronavirus continues to spread, according to the International Air Transport Association, and that figure was from last week.

On the airshow front, Aero Friedrichshafen, a major airshow in Germany, has been postponed from its April 1 start date indefinitely due to the large number of vendor cancellations citing Covid-19. In contrast, organizers of Sun 'n Fun have said that they will not postpone their show but will take precautions to help ensure the health and safety of the public.

What does this mean for flight instructors? I've researched and haven't found anything specific to our part of the industry. However, we are in close quarters with our students when we fly, so some common sense precautions are in order. First and foremost, if you or your student are sick, don't try to be heroic and press on with a lesson. Stay home, take care of yourself, and avoid contaminating others. Your students should be encouraged to do the same.

In reality this should be standard procedure for instructors, and not due to Covid-19. If you or a student is coughing, sneezing and has a runny nose why in the world would you fly? And you wouldn't go to work in the cockpit like that, would you?

Meanwhile, follow the CDC's recommended procedures for the prevention of spreading the disease. You can find them here.

The only additional caution that I will add is to consult with an A&P or the aircraft manufacturer before using any disinfectants, so you don't inadvertently damage the plastic components of the aircraft controls.

If we take proper precautions, we will all do our part to help prevent spread of this disease and other common ailments as well.


Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
Share this post:

Comments on "Wash Your Hands!"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment