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Cleveland, Ohio – 22 December 2020 – Flexjet LLC, an innovative leader in private aviation dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of its travellers and employees, today announced that they are the first and only large-scale operator in their industry to routinely test all of its more than 830 flight crew members for COVID-19 before each tour of duty.
Developed by a Rutgers University laboratory, called RUCDR Infinite Biologics, and administered by Vault Health, this at-home test is a PCR based test that utilizes a saliva sample. PCR tests are considered the “gold standard” of COVID-19 testing methodologies, because of their sensitivity and ability to directly detect small amounts of the virus’s genetic material.
“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 has been aggressive in identifying creative solutions to continue operations while respecting COVID-19 regulations around the world. In March, 2020, just as the virus was declared a global pandemic, Flexjet accelerated an existing plan to treat all of its aircraft interiors with MicroShield 360, an FDA-approved antimicrobial coating system which kills 99.99% of bacteria and protects surfaces for a year. Flexjet also treated all of its facilities with MicroShield 360.
At roughly the same time, Flexjet was the first to launch its own internal airline – Project Lift – to ferry its flight crews to their assignments, allowing them to avoid the commercial airline environment. Project Lift is expected to continue operations into 2021. The proactive testing will be added to current flight crew protocols that include individual monitoring of health and the wearing of masks while on duty.
“I have been very impressed by all of the adaptions our flight crews have made during this pandemic,” Silvestro said. “They truly exemplify a strength of character and it’s at the core of what makes our company great.”
Starting in January 2021, each crew member will be tested in the comfort of their home, before the start of a tour of duty. The test is administered under medical supervision via a telehealth video call to ensure that the saliva sample is collected correctly.
Should any flight crew member test positive, they will be paid their full salary for the duration of their quarantine without needing to tap into any PTO days. And medical follow-up assistance will be provided as needed.
“This is not about dollars and cents, but about health,” Silvestro said. “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.”