COVID-19: Return to normal operations for Business aviation
The past 4 months have been a whirlwind for the entire world, as states have introduced measures to control outbreaks and spreading of the COVID-19 virus.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been working overtime and cooperating with industry parties, EBAA included, to harmonise and standardise measures. Now, as the situation has somewhat stabilised, the Agency’s focus is on the EASA Return to Normal Operation (RNO) project. The RNO Project is divided into 5 workstreams to which EBAA contributes by highlighting the different ways Business aviation is impacted by the crisis.
Despite the differences in operations models and the challenges these bring, the health, safety and general wellbeing of all involved in the aviation system – passengers, crew and staff – remain the highest priority. With this in mind, EASA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) worked together with aviation industry to publish the COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol.
EBAA was invited to comment on the draft guidelines document and we successfully amended the terminology to reflect the protocol’s applicability to all types of passenger air operations, not just airlines. This important amendment was made possible thanks to the feedback and discussions with EBAA’s Safety Committee, whose members shared their experiences and challenges with the EBAA team. With the help of a dedicated RNO focus group composed of EBAA members, we managed to demonstrate that the European Business aviation sector is a reliable partner and contributor in the development of post COVID-19 EASA rules and guidelines.
Within the EASA Working Group of the RNO Taskforce dedicated to General Aviation and Non-commercial flights, a set of recommendations for general aviation operations during COVID-19 pandemic were developed.
The recommendations are presented as an easy to display poster and were the result of active cooperation and open communication between 8 associations, guided by the EASA staff. EBAA also proposed a dedicated Business aviation annexe to the EASA-ECDC Aviation Health Safety Protocol, which was well received and agreed upon. The annex brings clarification and additional information regarding their applicability to Business aviation operators’ specificities.
During the COVID-19 recovery consultation process, changing EASA’s mindset into “one size does not fit all” and receiving their agreement to propose our industry’s operational scenarios, are two of EBAA’s biggest achievements. Nevertheless, the work under the RNO Taskforce is far from over. We will continue to keep our members informed and involved in the upcoming activities.