This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Starting in January, Flexjet’s 830 crewmembers will begin medically supervised Covid-19 testing at home before each tour of duty using a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, the fractional operator announced. PCR tests are considered the most effective means for detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, experts have told AIN.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, we have taken every possible step to ensure the health and well-being of our owners and our flight crews,” said Flexjet CEO Michael Silvestro. “This announcement represents the next evolution of our overall strategy and will provide a key bridge while we wait for the large-scale rollout of the various vaccine programs.”
Flexjet noted that it has been aggressive in preventing the spread of coronavirus to its owners and crewmembers beginning in March by treating all its facilities and aircraft interiors with MicroShield 360, as well as launching Project Lift, an effort to ferry its flight crews internally instead of using commercial airlines.
The test was developed by Rutgers University laboratory RUCDR Infinite Biologics and is administered by Vault Health. Crewmembers will test themselves while on a video call with a medical provider to ensure they correctly collect the sample.
Crewmembers who test positive will be paid their full salary while under quarantine and won’t have to use any paid time off they’ve accumulated. “This is not about dollars and cents, but about health,” Silvestro explained. “The safety, health, and well-being of our clients and that of our flight crews is our priority and it is at the core of our operations.”