COVID continues to impact the aviation industry, and segments like business aviation are adapting accordingly to passenger expectations with it comes to health and safety. Learning from industry peers is an important part of that adaptation process and the need to share has given rise to organizations like the CleanFlying Coalition. According to its mission statement, CleanFlying a not-for-profit coalition of aviation stakeholders who are committed to promoting and implementing the best health practices in business aviation during and following the COVID-19 era for the safety of passengers.
CleanFlying is a platform for coalition members to collaborate on best practices, share success stories, and seek support from their community. To learn more about the CleanFlying Coalition and how it’s educating and advocating for the business aviation community in a post-COVID world, we spoke with Daniel Baker, CEO of FlightAware, the founding member of the coalition.
Here’s what Baker had to share about the CleanFlying Coalition and the mission it is delivering on for the business aviation community:
Connected Aviation Today (CAT) Editors: What are the main goals and messages of the CleanFlying Coalition that you want to make sure are shared with the aviation community?
Daniel Baker: Our industry cares about the health of our team members and customers. The private aviation community is working hard to quickly adjust to a new standard of health safety throughout and beyond the pandemic. During this transitional period, the CleanFlying Coalition has made it our goal to aggregate and communicate the many efforts of our partners – not only to be a resource to the business aviation industry overall but also to reassure business aviation passengers that we take their health safety seriously.
CAT Editors: What are some of the biggest/most important precautions being implemented for the business aviation community?
Baker: Each CleanFlying Coalition member has taken a fine-tooth comb to their current cleanliness guidelines and improved them to ensure their passengers’ health. Often though, the implications of our efforts are so much bigger than what they seem on the surface.
One of our founding partners, TAC Air, implemented the TAC Associate Commitment – a commitment from Chairman and CEO Greg Arnold to keep all active associates on the payroll through this time period. Process changes such as these have a huge ripple effect: employees can feel secure at their jobs knowing that their company is going to support them, which allows them to focus on providing top notch service to their customers. There are hundreds of stories like this – impactful change made with a view to improve lives. These are the kinds of stories we want to communicate to the world.
CAT Editors: What do you think are the biggest challenges moving forward for business aviation stakeholders with regard to implementing new health and safety precautions?
Baker: Travelers have had to re-learn how to travel by air. Actions we took for granted before – like relaxing in an FBO [fixed-based operator] or passing a cup of coffee – involve considerations about health that didn’t exist until earlier this year. The challenge will be bringing these stakeholders together, not only to share each other’s successes but also to communicate those accomplishments with their customers. When it’s your health you’re worried about, this isn’t a disparate set of concerns, it’s one. The CleanFlying Coalition aims to communicate the benefits of private and business aviation to new and potential passengers in a unified voice and provide them that assurance that they are looking for.
CAT Editors: Why are these efforts and challenges unique to the business aviation community?
Baker: Unlike airline travel, which is limited to a relatively small number of commercial airports and a few hundred airlines, business aviation flights are conducted by thousands of operators at tens of thousands of airports around the world. There are far more stakeholders that the CleanFlying Coalition is helping to collaborate and share knowledge about safe flying.
CAT Editors: What advice do you have for business aviation stakeholders to consider in a post-COVID world?
Baker: Don’t be afraid to tell your stories. Business aviation stakeholders are a unique group – they’re tied together by their love of flying. When flying itself was threatened because of COVID, they rolled up their sleeves and helped address the concerns from a deeply personal conviction. We care about our industry enough to make a change. The CleanFlying Coalition is an expression of that.
Communicating what the entire industry is implementing to ensure their passengers’ health safety will only boost business. Through organizations like the CleanFlying Coalition, we can send one collective message that gives passengers peace of mind that business aviation is a reliable and highly sanitary method of traveling.