This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
As business for XOJet Aviation has continued throughout the pandemic, the operator has implemented a layered, comprehensive approach to ensure the health and safety of both its passengers and crew
Many of the operator’s measures were put in place in the early days of the pandemic, according to XOJet Aviation president and COO Kevin Thomas. He explained that as scheduled airlines cut operations, “We filled that void and still needed to provide lift. We decided we need to react sooner in the process” and implement countermeasures.
This became particularly important as operators began facing varying and wide-reaching restrictions and mandates. As such, XOJet’s approach is to exceed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FAA guidance and is designed to reduce touchpoints and ensure the “cabin is as clean as it possibly can get,” Thomas said.
Among the procedures is the application of the ClearCabin 90-day disinfectant and antimicrobial barrier. The treatment forms an “invisible bio-barrier coating” to protect against bacteria, mold, and fungi. While a nearly three-month treatment, the operator is reapplying it every 45 days to ensure as much protection as possible, Thomas said.
In addition, all aircraft undergo a disinfectant treatment every 10 days, he added. Aircraft are stocked with anti-bacterial hand wipes and cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment such as masks are available. For the crew, masks are required when customer interaction is involved. While the crew still flies commercial, travel is limited to the extent possible and crew pairings are also as consistent as possible, he noted.
Coupled with that, pilots undergo temperature checks twice a day and passengers must fill out health questionnaires, including not only current well-being but whether passengers have possibly been exposed or traveled to recent hot spots. While this doesn’t preclude travel, it does enable the operator to put secondary measures in place. This enables the crew to be as prepared as possible for the passengers traveling, Thomas said. Touchpoints are limited in areas such as luggage handling, he added.
On applicable flights, passengers can determine whether they want to have a flight attendant on board and whether they’d like to use paper goods or china onboard the aircraft for catering. Additionally, XOJet Aviation further works closely with MedAire to remain updated on all suspected communicable diseases, including Covid-19, the company said.
Moving forward, Thomas sees some of these measures remaining as part of the operator’s regular practices. “What’s come to light is a lot of these measures are good practices to have in place,” he said, such as cabin treatments. Others, he sees fading away over time, such as the use of masks. But, he said, “Cleanliness steps are things that will stay.”
He also praised the professionalism of the pilots who have remained fully supportive of the operations and protective measures associated with them. Encouragingly, traffic is continuing to return to previous levels, Thomas said, adding that along the way “feedback has been positive.”