This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
With the Covid pandemic causing drastic disruptions in air travel, ground service providers have felt the impact, particularly in Europe, leading some of those businesses to scale down or cease operations entirely. As a result, EASA has issued a Safety Information Bulletin with recommendations for airport operators to ensure the safety and regularity of services.
In cases where the ground handler has ceased services or where certain services are no longer available, this should be communicated to aircraft operators by all means possible, including Notams. They should liaise with the national aviation authority to ensure the continuity of service with regard to the expected traffic demand and coordinate with the service provider on a return-to-service plan.
Unused or inoperable ground service equipment should be removed from areas that affect flight operations and aircraft servicing, and service providers should check all such equipment before it is returned to service. Use of equipment and vehicles by those who do not have proper apron driving authorization should not be permitted, and any personnel who are allowed unescorted access to the apron should receive refresher training in regard to safety and operational procedures, as well as be briefed on any new modifications.
Airports are also encouraged to work with their ground handlers to ensure the establishment of staff well-being programs.