COVID-19 Live Blog: March 24


Coronavirus Disease 2019 Rotator Graphic for (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

Coronavirus or Covid-19 is continuing to hit many industries around the world, including business aviation. There does appear to be a spike in business jet travel as passengers rush to get back before borders close, but once borders are shut, aircraft are being grounded.

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FAA to quarantine all documents received in the public documents room for 72 hours

In a posting on LinkedIn, Scott McCreary, vice president, McAffe & Taft, said that as of today (March 24), all documents received by mail, or filed in person, at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) public documents (PD) room, will be quarantined for 72 hours.

McCreary says that the FAA has brought in the quarantine to help protect its employees from coronavirus.

“Nevertheless documents properly submitted through the email portal will be processed without delay, and the 20-page email maximum for the email portal will not apply to priorities,” said McCreary. “Parties must take care to comply with the FAA’s digital signature requirements, payment options and other procedures for emailing documents to the portal.”



FAI is working “around the clock” to evacuate coronavirus patients and repatriate unaffected civilians during the global pandemic.

The air ambulance operator announced that it is operating at maximum capacity, utilising its fleet of five Learjet 60s, four Bombardier Challenger 604s and a Global Express to fly an average of six-mission per day during the global health crisis.

The operator recently acquired two ‘EPI-shuttle’ self-contained isolation units which it uses to transport patients without any risk of infecting flight or medical crew.

Siegfried Axtmann, chairman and founder of FAI Aviation Group said: “We are working hard to fulfil all requests coming in 24/7 for repatriation and medevac flights as rapidly and as efficiently as we can and will continue to do so as long as is practically possible. We deeply regret that we can’t help everybody immediately. The demand is such that we currently have a backlog of three days.”

According to FAI, the biggest struggle in transporting patients is scheduling flights, given the strict flight rules in place in many countries currently.


Alpha Aviation Group invests in new Alsim-AL172 flight simulator

As airspace restrictions grow ever tighter around the world in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, Asia pilot training provider Alpha Aviation Group (AAG) has boosted its simulator training facilities with the purchase of new Alsim-AL172 flight simulator.

The AL172 features two aircraft cockpit seats, Cessna 172 specific interior cockpit and flight deck, Garmin G1000 NXi avionics with GFC 7000 Autopilot. It is equipped with dual electrical control loading on the three axes, software with localiser performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach and navigation database, which is updated quarterly.

Christopher Magdangal, AAG regional director for Asia-Pacific, said: We’re thrilled to offer the cadets at our premier training facility access to this state-of-the-art flight simulator.  Adding the Alsim-AL172 to our fleet continues AAG’s commitment to providing world-class training solutions to its partners.

‘Premier Aviation training hub’

“This investment is part of our advocacy to help continue to position the Philippines as the region’s premier aviation training hub.” The acquisition brings the number of simulators operated by Alpha Aviation Group to seven, the most of any pilot training provider in the Philippines.

The new simulator is equipped with 220-degree x 60-degree panoramic field of view with three full high definition (HD) projectors for total immersion and ALSIM’s High Definition Visual System (HDVS) image generator.

The system can display the visible parts of the simulated aircraft including wings, lights and strong integration, and air traffic. All runways in the Jeppesen database are represented in the visual system enabling training in the simulator on runway axis bands and touchdown zones. To increase realism, detailed airports can be added according to aeronautical publication including realistic runway and taxiway 3D elevation and geo-referencing position for the building.

Before the global Covid-19 pandemic

Boeing’s latest Pilot Outlook, prepared before the global Covid-19 pandemic, predicted that the global commercial aviation industry will require more than 800,000 more commercial pilots by 2038. The largest proportion of those – 266,000 – were expected to be needed across Asia-Pacific. AAG has more than 1,000 graduates flying with regional and local airlines and continues to train hundreds of new pilots every year.



Alpha Aviation Group has boosted its simulator training facilities with the purchase of new Alsim-AL172 flight simulator, as airspace regulations tighten due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Bristow flies ‘Coronacopter’ fleet in South America and Caribbean

Bristow has launched a fleet of specifically-configured AW139, S76 and S92 helicopters to transport suspected or confirmed coronavirus victims from offshore oil rigs back to shore.

The operator has performed flights in the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. The first request came in on 29 January 2020, and has since completed 24 successful requests to transport offshore workers and deliver COVID-19 test kits to offshore platforms.



Bombardier suspends aircraft production for a month

Bombardier will suspend all non-essential work at most of its Canadian facilities on Tuesday night, in a bid to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

In an emailed statement, the manufacturer said that the suspension applies to its business aviation facilities in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

Bombardier manufactures the Global family of business jets in Ontario and then flies them to Quebec to be completed. The Challenger family of business jets are built and completed in Quebec. Bombardier said that work will resume in its facilities on April 24th.

“Since the coronavirus outbreak, the company has been focused on keeping our employees safe,
serving our customers to the best of our ability during these difficult times and taking the necessary
actions to protect our business for the long term,”
said Pierre Beaudoin, chairman of the board of
directors, Bombardier Inc. “In addition to the actions announced today, Bombardier has cut all
discretionary spending is continuing the work on closing the previously announced transactions and is
pursuing additional measures to enhance liquidity.”

You can read the full release by clicking here.



NBAA launches daily insider newsletter

The National Business Aviation Administration (NBAA) is launching a new daily newsletter that will help to round-up all relevant information for business aircraft owners and operators.

“During this challenging moment and beyond, NBAA is committed to remaining essential to its members, providing the valued content they want, in the format most useful to them,” said Ed Bolen, president, NBAA. “We welcome all feedback regarding these new offerings, including specific suggestions about the news and other topics of most relevance to our community.”

If you are already subscribed to the NBAA Insider email list then the new email will automatically come to you every weekday morning. However, if you would like to subscribe, then please click here.



Duncan Aviation is caring for the well-being of its customers and employees

In a note from Duncan Aviation chairman Todd Duncan, the company said that it is working closely with federal government health authorities and closely following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to protect its staff and facilities from coronavirus.

As well as regularly sanitising its facilities, the company is thoroughly disinfecting aircraft that arrive at any of its full-service FBOs.

You can click here to read the full release and click here to view a video of the company disinfecting an aircraft.



Covid-19 pandemic to ‘impact global economy for years’: OECD

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has already exceeded the financial crash of 2008 and is likely to affect the global economy for years to come, warns the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

OECD secretary general Angel Gurría said international co-operation would be essential to mitigate its effects. “The coronavirus pandemic is a public health crisis without precedent in living memory, and it is also setting in motion a major economic crisis,” said Gurría.

“It looks increasingly likely that we will see sequential declines in global GDP [Gross Domestic Product] or regional GDPs in the current and next quarters of 2020, and we must act now to avoid a protracted recession,” he added.

‘Buffer the economic shock’

“Only a sizeable, credible, internationally co-ordinated effort can deal with the immediate public health emergency, buffer the economic shock and develop a path towards recovery.”

Previous warnings that a pandemic could half global growth to 1.5% already looked too optimistic an assessment of the true impact.

Gurría called for decisive policy action in four key areas: Responding to the health challenge, Shoring up the economy, Combining efforts for financial regulation and supervision and Restoring confidence.

In response to the health challenge, the OECD said in a statement: “Scientific effort must be complemented by regulatory and other measures to ensure that vaccines and treatments are developed, produced, and deployed as quickly as possible.”

Shoring up the economy

Shoring up the economy required governments to cushion immediate negative impacts with coordinated spending across sectors such as: Health care, to cover extensive testing and treatment; People, to cover short-term employment schemes, and Firms to cover charges and tax payment delays, temporary VAT reductions or deferrals. Special support packages were needed for small and medium-sized enterprises; especially those in services and tourism.

Combining efforts for financial regulation and supervision needed Building on action underway by Central Banks.

Restoring confidence could be delivered by addressing trade tensions, high corporate debt, and economic inequalities.

Read the full OECD statement here.


OECD secretary general Angel Gurría urged urgent international action to mitigate the human and financial costs of Covid-19.


Aero-Dienst says now is the time for solidarity

In a post on its website, the Germany-based operator and MRO says that it has weathered many storms during its last 60 years and has so far managed to keep coronavirus away from its staff and facilities.

But it then cautions that the virus will take its financial toll on the company. But despite this, the firm is calling for solidarity in the industry, saying “Now is not the time for marketing hangar space unless you can offer it for free. Now is time for being fair and honest while trying to help each other to reduce cost as much as possible to avoid dismissal of employees and structural divestments.”

You can read the full note below.

“The COVID-19 crisis is changing our world. At Aero-Dienst we have weathered many storms during the last 60 years and managed so far to keep the virus away from our employees, aircraft and hangars. However, it becomes more and more evident that this crisis will not be over shortly and the future will be… different.

For most of us aviation is more than just a job. We are all more used to 24/7 than to nine-to-five. As pilots, technicians and aviation professionals we are well trained in being responsible, flexible and stress-resistant. Now is the time to bring these values to our private surroundings. By responsibly educating the careless, calming down the panicking and flexibly adopting to the new situation we can protect our beloved ones and CONTRIBUTE TO SLOWING DOWN THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS.

FINANCIALLY Corona will hit us very hard, no doubt. As aircraft owner, operator and maintenance facility we face many of the current challenges in our industry. This week our ambulance jets are still bringing those in need back home from Thailand, Turkey, Spain… under exceptional circumstances… while movements of our executive fleet become increasingly domestic constrained by the imposed travel restrictions. Our maintenance support remains fully operational and we do our best to help our customers with their situation-based changing requests and unplanned cancellations. In the coming weeks and months, we have to expect the flight activity and thereafter the maintenance demand to seize down significantly. While giant airlines will suffer and survive, Corona is likely to leave deep scars on our niche infrastructure. Now is not the time for marketing hangar space unless you can offer it for free. Now is time for being fair and honest while trying to help each other to reduce cost as much as possible to avoid dismissal of employees and structural divestments.

Aircraft owners, OEMs, operators, FBOs and all suppliers – this is the time for SOLIDARITY.

With our values and trust-based relationships, we will overcome the crisis and lead the way in re-connecting the post-corona FUTURE.

Aero-Dienst employees, thank you for your great contribution! Keep up and stay healthy!

Customers and partners, if you have any questions to our operational status or anti-Corona measures, just let us know. All our employees can help.”


Airbus Helicopters resumes production at European sites

After pausing production across its facilities in France and Spain last week, Airbus Helicopters has reopened its production floors with newly instated health and safety measures.

You can read the full statement below:

We decided to pause production and assembly in our sites in France and Spain for 4 days, with the aim of immediately implementing the health and safety measures required to protect people working in our facilities. The same measures were also implemented in Germany, UK, US and Canada without full interruption of production.

We leveraged the lessons learned from our operations in China as our colleagues in Tianjin have been implementing measures that proved to be efficient.

To weather that crisis, it is clear: we need to protect people against the outbreak, and we also have to restore and maintain our operations at a certain level. We have two crises to face, not one: the health crisis, and the economic crisis. We need to find solutions, we need to move forward on both of them, simultaneously and now.

As a major industrial leading company, we fulfill an important role in society as a driver of employment, skills, expertise, tax revenues and as a provider of critical services to our customers. It is our duty to fulfill that role.


Simply Jet says it can still help with repatriation flights

Simply Jet, the Switzerland-based charter specialists say it can help with repatriation flights, although there are some restrictions due to government rules.

You can read the full release below.

“Following the exponential increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, more countries are taking drastic measures to contain the spread of the disease, particularly by limiting air traffic.

Airlines are therefore forced for sanitary and economic reasons to cease operations to these destinations. International flights to the Schengen area are now suspended until 19 April 2020.

This lack of flights to the EU prevents Europeans from returning to their home countries. Chartering a private jet could be a solution to these restrictions. But under what conditions?

In order to advise our clients, find reliable and less coronavirus-exposed alternatives for repatriation, our experts are available 24/7.

Despite the situation, Simply Jet continues to operate and remains available anytime for our clients.

The map below represents the levels of access restrictions on the territories put in place by the governments as of Monday, March 23, 2020.

• Red: High level of restrictions, impossible to enter from most countries.
• Orange: Mid level of restrictions, impossible to enter from some countries.
• Yellow: Low level of restrictions, entry possible from most countries.
• Grey: Unknown or No restrictions to date.



NBAA launches aircraft disinfection and cleaning guidelines

The National Business Aviation Administration (NBAA) has launched a guide to aircraft disinfection and cleaning. The guide, available to its members, includes recommendations from the Centres for Disease Control (CDC)

” It’s important for business aviation to put aircraft disinfection and cleaning at the forefront, given the current global situation with COVID-19,” said Tyler Harper, AEM Logistics and the principal author of the guide. “A cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets and spread 15 feet from the person without covering their mouth. This has the potential of contaminating most interior surfaces, considering the size of business aircraft.”

You can view the guide directly by clicking here


Air Partner CEO issues plea to keep airspace open

As we face a wall of blanket travel bans, why emergency flights must be allowed to go ahead to help combat the COVID-19 crisis

By Mark Briffa, CEO of Air Partner plc

There is no doubt that this is an extremely worrying and challenging time for everyone, with far-reaching health, economic and societal ramifications. Governments and NGOs globally are working around-the-clock to limit the spread of COV-19, and a necessary part of this is the enforcement of some travel bans and restrictions.

 However, as more and more countries issue blanket bans on air travel and transport, my concern is that this could do more damage than good. Global air infrastructure has always played an important role at times of global crisis, and it must be allowed to do so now.

Mark Briffa

Mark Briffa, chief executive, Air Partner

 Airports and airways need to remain open for urgent travel and transportation, but currently the trend is going in the other

direction, towards universal closure, despite the fact that there are still countless people stranded around the world, with limited – if any – means of getting back to their home countries. Presently, there are an estimated 300,000 to 1 million Britons stranded overseas, many of whom cannot afford the drastically inflated ticket prices for the few flights that are operating back to the UK. Governments must have the appropriate designations and approvals in place to enable evacuations and repatriations to take place.

Just last month, we worked with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to repatriate passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama in Japan. People are still in these types of situation, and we are currently working with customers in the cruise sector to repatriate significant volumes of passengers. We must be allowed to continue to do so.

Earlier in the year, we also carried out two evacuation flights from Wuhan to the UK, carrying over 300 British and EU nationals in total, as part of which we were able to arrange for 407 boxes of medical supplies to be flown out on the first positioning flight and an additional 200 boxes on the second.

 This movement of vital supplies is crucial, and there is no faster way than by air. Back in 2014 and 2015, we saw first-hand just how important this was when we participated in the humanitarian response to the Ebola epidemic by flying aid to the affected regions. At the peak of the crisis, our Freight team was operating flights every 48 hours carrying cargo of medical equipment and supplies, vehicles, construction materials and protective clothing.

We are already seeing worrying media reports about the shortages faced by hospitals around the world, so let airfreight do its bit. We have a proud history of emergency flying on behalf of the NHS, and this type of activity shouldn’t stop.

While it’s understandable that at this time the main concern of governments globally is the health and safety of its citizens, it would also be very dangerous to underestimate the very severe economic repercussions of shutting down supply chains. Who knows if they will be able to start up again? To the extent that we can, we need to keep the economy moving, and this necessarily involves transport.

Our business, like all others in the global aviation industry, is feeling the impact of COVID-19, but we all understand that, in the health interests of global citizens, travel must be restricted in order to contain the virus.  But the key here is that travel isrestricted, not ‘blanket banned’. We simply ask that proportionate measures are taken. We opened up the skies so that we could transport people and goods quickly and efficiently around the globe: let’s not close them entirely when we need to do this more than ever, in order to fly people safely home and get supplies to those who desperately need them.


Citadel Completions publishes note to customers

In a note to its customers, Citadel Completions CEO Joe Bonita, said that the company had taken all the necessary precautions to make sure that the company can stay operational during the coronavirus outbreak.

“On behalf of my entire team at Citadel Completions, we send the sincerest of wishes for wellness and safety to each of you and your teams during this extremely challenging time.

I am thankful to report that our team is healthy and ready to work relentlessly in serving you. While we have taken comprehensive precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, our hangar doors remain open and we are ready to support your operational needs.

Our industry is a resilient one, and we will emerge from these challenges strong! And while none of us can fully predict the difficulty we will endure before our industry returns to “normal”, I think it is safe to say that the recovery will require teamwork. Please know that our team is always here for you.

Stay safe, and do reach out if we can be of service to you”



China Business Aviation Group on coronavirus impact on business aviation in China

The China Business Aviation Group (CBAG) recently published a note that detailed the effect that coronavirus had on business aviation in the country.

The note, written by Jason Liao, CEO, CBAG, says that business aviation played a big role in the emergency transportation of relief goods around the country at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, adding that business aircraft were also used as emergency transportation. The note ends by looking at some possible positive outcomes from the situation.

You can read the full note below:

“The outbreak of coronavirus has created huge challenges to our countries, businesses, families and individuals. Business aviation and general aviation will be affected inevitably like other industries.
We are very pleased to see that business and general aviation has stepped up and is playing a very active role in the “War“ against coronavirus by providing transportation of critical supplies and key personnel. Unlike scheduled airliners with fixed flight routes and schedules, business aircraft’s routing and timing flexibility makes it perfect to quickly bring badly needed critical supplies to Wuhan. This is the first time in Chinese history that general and business aviation has played such critical role.

1、Transportation of Emergency Relief Supplies

Many enterprises have donated their business aircraft for the transportation of emergency relief supplies during the epidemic. Many companies are taking urgent actions around the world using their own aircraft to transport urgently needed medical supplies to Wuhan and other places . For example, 4,300 sets of medical protective clothing donated by German Chinese were transported directly to hospitals across Hubei by business aircraft. A total of 700 kilograms of medical supplies and equipment were transported to the People’s Hospital of Wudu by business aviation enterprises urgently.

A company bought a batch of medical protective clothing in a small city in Europe and planned to ship back to China by commercial flight. If so, the shipment needs to fly to a city that has flights to China first, then fly to city like Beijing for customs clearance, and finally fly from Beijing to Wuhan. However, many countries have temporarily suspended commercial flights to and from China, which makes it very difficult to find a suitable flight and would delay the shipment for many days. In the end, the perfect solution is to transport the shipment using a business jet from the small European city to Wuhan directly.

2、Point-to-point Medical Flights using Helicopters

Helicopters have been widely used to send medical supplies, rescue workers, and critically ill patients. For short distance door to door transports, helicopters are the best choices due to the fact that no runways are needed. Many general aviation enterprises, under the command of Hubei Emergency Management Department, have transported protective clothing and other medical supplies for Union Hospital, Central War Zone Hospital, and other hospitals using helicopters.

3、Emergency Transportation

Many people have stopped taking commercial flights due to concern of catching virus. Business aircraft have become sometimes the only choice. You can fly by yourselves or only with the people you know. Many people were overseas on vacation during the Chinese New Year. Suddenly their original return flights were cancelled and many countries have implemented temporary entry restrictions for Chinese nationals. A simple trip home has become a huge challenge. For many people, business aircraft was the only choice. Business aircraft flight activities and charter flights have increased substantially recently.

The impact of Coronavirus outbreak on the Chinese economy is huge, and business aviation is no exception. I believe coronavirus has a very negative impact on business aviation in the short term, but the long term impact is very positive.

1、The slowdown of the economic activities, the decrease of corporate profits, and personal wealth will affect the purchase of business jets for a relatively short period.

2、Throughout the epidemic, the government, the public, the media and potential customers have realized the benefits of business aircraft. More people will buy.

3、The government will establish a more robust National Emergency Management System. More helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are needed.

4、More people will buy business aircraft. But not all of them can afford large long-range aircraft. More medium and small aircraft will be purchased.

5、The demand for low-cost business charter flights and business aircraft sharing services will also greatly increase.”



You can contact any of our journalists by clicking the initials at the end of each story. Alternatively, please use any of the links below:

AB – Alex Baldwin – [email protected]
AD – Alud Davies – [email protected]
AW – Alasdair Whyte – [email protected]
MS – Mike Stones – [email protected]
YK – Yuvan Kumar – [email protected]
YM – Yves Le Marquand – [email protected]