The large jet card and fractional private jet company has started to use its own aircraft to put its pilots and other crew members in place. This program to ferry crew has been put in place to limit the exposure of passengers and flight crews to Covid-19. The company has also treated its planes with an antimicrobial coating system.
In regular (non-covid19) times, jet card provider Flexjet uses the commercial airlines to transport Its pilots to and from flight assignment locations. These pilots meet up with Flexjets fleet of jets which float around the country as flight requests come in from the jet card and fractional owners.
The company says that taking its pilots and flight crews off commercial airlines, enables it to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations that groups be limited to no more than 10 people for the next few weeks. Flexjet has implemented this effort, internally named Project Lift, for all U.S. domestic flights as well as internationally-bound flights still permitted by the U.S. and other governments.
In order to implement the program, Flexjet pilots and flight crews will drive to one of seven strategically located hubs around the country. They will then be ferried aboard a controlled and select group of Flexjet aircraft to reunite with their flight assignments. Through careful scheduling, using Flexjet’s proprietary software, and extension of tour lengths, the new shuttle system will remove flight crews from the commercial airlines with minimal disruption.
“Historically, flight crews in both commercial and private aviation regularly have used commercial airlines to travel from their home base to reunite with their aircraft for their flight assignment,” said Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci. “But, given the threat posed by the novel coronavirus and the illness COVID-19, we felt it was in the best interests of our Owners and flight crews to take this risk out of the equation and transport our flight crews on our own aircraft.”
“Decisions about safety can never be made based on their impact on the bottom line,” said Ricci. “There’s no doubt that this will have a cost impact on Flexjet, but it’s the right thing to do for our employees and it’s the right thing to do for our Owners as we move ahead through this global crisis.”
The number of commercial flights has dropped significantly as all the commercial carriers have reduced their services. According to FlightRadar “commercial air traffic has shrunk 41% below 2019 levels in the last two weeks of March.” The ferry change at Flexjet also comes after multiple reports of passengers with coronavirus traveling on commercial aircraft. JetBlue banned a passenger who flew from New York to Florida while awaiting the results of a coronavirus test. A former Biogen employee flew from Boston Logan Airport and caught a connecting flight in Los Angeles on her way to Beijing, China.Another passenger on a Delta flight out of JFK Airport in New York had coronavirus and was contagious.
Flexjet has also treated all its jet interiors with MicroShield 360, an FDA-approved antimicrobial coating system which constantly reduces microbial contamination of bacteria, viruses, mold, algae, yeast, mildew, fungi and odors. The application was carried out by sister company Constant Aviation.