Universal Weather and Aviation has launched a new COVID-19 standards programme for preferred suppliers across the top 100 destinations where its trip support customers travel. The initial programme covers three core logistical components within a mission that physically touch passengers and crew; FBO ground services, inflight catering, and ground transportation.
“As the only mission management company that also operates and controls its own global divisions in FBO ground services, inflight catering and ground transportation, we have an intimate and unique understanding of what COVID-19 best practices should be followed by our third-party providers within each of these domains,” says Greg Evans, chairman, Universal. “Universal and our preferred providers have a shared responsibility to do everything in our power keep our staff and mutual customers safe from potential exposure to COVID-19, so we felt that implementing this programme of standards was an important measure to take.”
The standards for the programme are based on COVID-19 health and safety practices outlined by the CDC, FDA, IATA, NBAA and WHO, and they are similar to what has been implemented within Universal's own global divisions for FBO ground services, inflight catering and ground transportation namely Universal Aviation, Air Culinaire Worldwide and Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs respectively.
So far, more than 80 per cent of Universal's preferred suppliers across its top 100 destinations have pledged their commitment to follow these standards for all missions managed by Universal. Universal is actively working to bring that to 100 percent by the end of the month.
“Flight departments are starting to think about how their processes will change once they start flying again. Many are asking how they should be pre-screening a range of suppliers,” says Ralph Vasami, CEO, Universal. “This programme will help remove that uncertainty from the equation, speed up access to information and streamline communications, relieving some administrative burden for both our customers and third-party providers.”
Universal's own global divisions in FBO ground services, inflight catering, and ground transportation divisions are also taking additional measures. “Across our Universal Aviation FBO network, we're rethinking the entire ground experience,” said Adolfo Aragon, SVP, Universal Aviation. “Passengers and crew are less interested in facility amenities now, and they are more concerned with ground time velocity and reducing risk of exposure. At each of our locations, we've been focusing extensively on passenger and crew traffic flow analysis to increase speeds where we can, reduce possible points of contact once they leave the aircraft, and perform before-and-after sterilisation of physical touchpoints that we control.”
Air Culinaire Worldwide is ‘scrutinising the chain of custody’ of the food it serves clients. Sav Mongelli, VP of guest services and global network added, “We've taken these standards to our global partner network, and we now have over 1,000 inflight caterers around the world who have pledged to follow them in order to mitigate risk of contamination and spreading COVID-19 and other diseases.”
Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs is also participating: “At Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs, we now have COVID-19 safety profiles completed for more than 500 ground transportation providers around the globe. We can tell you the exact procedures each are following, and confirm they have all met our minimum requirements,” states Frank Davidson, SVP global sales, Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs. “We are also conducting pre-trip reviews on every booking made through our platform to ensure that the vendors we are trusting our customers with are complying with our standards.”