Mask shortages may dramatically impact airlines as they compete for supplies with hospitals, governments, businesses, and the general public. Without a supply of critical personal protection equipment, aircraft cannot fly, and carriers could face difficulties in resuming activities easily after the COVID-19 crisis.
What are the details?
Before the worldwide lockdown, very few people knew what personal protection equipment (PPE) was, and even fewer knew where to purchase it. But as the COVID-19 crisis grew, supplies of PPE and sanitizer became worth their weight in gold as demand increased from desperate businesses, frontline health workers, and governments alike.
In the chaos to protect their own, businesses are competing against governments and hospitals to claim their stake over a restricted supply – with airlines stuck in the middle. But carriers might find themselves in even hotter water as lockdown restrictions are lifted, and flights begin to resume across the globe. The demand for supplies will only increase, and airlines in developing countries have already found it difficult to source necessary PPE supplies.
“The lockdown decision was unexpected and did not allow many carriers to anticipate new procedures. For several weeks the problem was where to park the planes for an indefinite period. But today, the resumption of activities are on the horizon, so now airlines must quickly purchase sanitary products like PPE to protect against the spread of Covid-19 to ensure the health and safety of passengers, crews, and ground staff.” – says Alain Tchale, CEO of Eways Aviation to Simple Flying.
New government policies or carrier health guidelines, will require passengers and crew to wear face masks, and for carriers to sanitize aircraft. Airlines will need to provide safety equipment for their ground staff and cabin crew, as well as offer these products to passengers.
Ethiopian Airlines has positioned itself as a much-needed lifeline between Africa and China (who produces most of the world’s PPE supplies), especially during the Covid-19 crisis. But after facing an 80% loss in passenger business due to the lockdown restrictions, the airline is eager to resume its standard operations – though, as all other airlines, it has found it difficult to secure PPE and sanitation supplies.
Long lead-times for delivery and elevated prices are just some of the challenges that airlines now face. One of the companies that have helped carriers like Ethiopian Airlines to find a reliable source of supply is Eways Aviation:
“Ethiopian Airlines has faced a challenge to meet the growing demand to protect its employees and assist maintenance agents in their cleaning operations,” notes Mr. Tchale.
Eways Aviation has created a guaranteed supply line to its customers, that cannot be interrupted by third parties. One of the ways in which they have achieved this is by producing PPE products specifically for airlines, and by providing a short turnaround time on deliveries. The company’s PPE masks are manufactured under stringent conditions, in a facility that meets rigorous health and safety regulation standards.
“Given the seriousness of the situation, Eways Aviation worked from the start of the crisis to design a range of products adapted to the needs of air operators, to facilitate business recovery that guarantees maximum health security.”
Part of the success of their operations can be attributed to the existing logistics network established by Eways Aviation across Africa and the world. Because they already provide AOG (Aircraft On Ground) support, a vital spare parts network to get grounded aircraft flying again as soon as possible, it was a straightforward procedure for them to deliver emergency safety supplies via the same channels.
Eways Aviation is a worldwide supplier of PPE and aircraft parts and has been essential in assisting carriers like Ethiopian Airlines to resume their operations.
For a look at the services and products Eways Aviation supply, check out their specialized aviation biosecurity catalog here.
What do you think? Should PPE suppliers deal directly with airlines? Let us know in the comments.