This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Universal Weather and Aviation has launched a new Covid-19 standards program for its preferred suppliers across the top 100 destinations frequented by its trip support customers. The first phase of the plan covers three core logistical components that involve physical contact of passengers and crew: FBO ground services, in-flight catering, and ground transportation—all areas in which the company operates its own divisions.
“We have an intimate and unique understanding of what Covid-19 best practices should be followed by our third-party providers within each of these domains," said company chairman Greg Evans. “Universal and our preferred providers have a shared responsibility to do everything in our power to keep our staff and mutual customers safe from potential exposure.”
The standards are based on health and safety practices recommended by the CDC, FDA, IATA, and WHO, and are similar to those that have already been implemented by the company’s Universal Aviation, Air Culinaire Worldwide, and Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs businesses.
Universal Aviation has been focusing on passenger and crew traffic flow to increase speeds and reduce possible points of contact when they leave the aircraft and perform before and after sterilization of physical touchpoints under its control.
The company’s Air Culinaire division has scrutinized the chain of custody for the catering it provides, “from sourcing and receiving, to preparing and delivery to develop our enhanced health and safety standards,” according to Air Culinaire senior v-p Paul Schweitzer. Universal now has more than 1,000 in-flight caterers around the world that have agreed to follow protocols to mitigate the risk of contamination.
In terms of ground transportation, Universal-Drivania has completed safety profiles for more than 500 providers globally. Frank Davidson, the division’s senior v-p for global sales, noted that the company “can tell you the exact procedures each are following, and confirm they have met our minimum requirements.” He added that Universal is also conducting pre-trip reviews on every booking made through its platform to ensure vendor compliance.
According to the company, more than 80 percent of its suppliers have pledged their commitment to follow all the standards Universal has established for missions it manages, with a goal of 100 percent compliance by the end of this month.