Chairman’s Note: COVID-19 * Reducing Your Operating Risk Going Forward

PT 3 M minute read

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I hope you’ve remained safe and healthy throughout this ongoing pandemic. From our side, we are working diligently to prepare for the future, and I’m happy to share some encouraging news.

For the first time since COVID-19 essentially shut down international travel, we’re seeing signs that flying may be able to resume soon, as many countries have announced they will be easing restrictions in the next few weeks.

Operating in a post-COVID-19 world

I wish we could just flip a switch and go back to the way things used to be. Unfortunately, as you know, that’s not a present or future reality.

When we do begin flying again, things are going to be different. Much like after 9-11, flying in a post-COVID-19 world will have a dramatic impact on your travel experience.

Our entire industry must rethink the way we do things. This will result in revised risk assessment, procedures, more processes to follow, more documentation, increased admin burden, and enhanced vendor vetting—adding more complexity to our world. There are going to be many “cracks” that we need to navigate together as a community when demand for international flying resumes. We all hope that happens soon!

Choosing the right provider is more critical than ever

While our industry—and the world—struggle to understand and adapt to the new and continually-evolving challenges presented by the current pandemic environment, Universal remains committed to helping you operate safely and successfully on every mission.

Choosing the right provider has always been vital in ensuring the success of your mission. But the stakes have now been raised again.

Let’s be real. There is no such thing as “social distancing” on a commercial airliner. So, as operators of business aircraft, you have greater control over your level of exposure to those who may be infected with COVID-19.

While flying private obviously exposes you to less risk in the air, what about when you land? Order catering?  What about your ground transportation driver? Which hotel should passengers and crew choose? Who is looking out for my interests on the ground?

Each interaction introduces risk without proper precautions and safety standards. How can you be comfortable without knowIng the COVID-19 processes your suppliers are adhering to? Calling each one is burdensome and time-consuming.

There is Good News! To give you confidence when you use Universal, we’ve launched a transparent new  COVID-19 standards program for our preferred suppliers across the top 100 destinations where you travel. Our initial program covers three core logistical components within a mission that physically touch passengers and crew — FBO ground services, inflight catering, and ground transportation. Notably, we are also leveraging our personal relationships at the leadership level of several major hotel chains to ensure you receive accurate information about the standards and processes for where you’ll be staying upfront.

As the only mission management company that also operates and controls our own global divisions: Universal Aviation FBO ground services, Air Culinaire Worldwide inflight catering, and Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs ground transportation, we have an intimate and unique understanding of what COVID-19 best practices should be followed, including a host of third-party providers within each of these domains.

Universal subsidiaries and our preferred providers have a shared responsibility to do everything in our power to keep our staff and mutual customers safe from potential exposure to COVID-19, so we felt that implementing this program of standards was an important measure to take.

Moving forward, as we learn more, we will adapt our standards as appropriate. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Standards landing page for detailed information on what we’re committed to doing to keep you safe.

What are your plans for this summer?

I’d love to know what your travel plans are for this summer. What are you specifically wanting to do, and what are your concerns? Is there anything we can do to help?

We’re all navigating the same turbulent waters, so it’s critical that we continue to work together and share information and learnings.

Like I mentioned before, I’m optimistic that we’re going to see some opportunities to fly again soon. I’ll share more as we get closer to summer. Until then, stay safe and let us know how we can help you in any way.

Warmest regards,