**Update: 04/19/20 @ 11:45 UTC – A United spokesperson shared information the use of the hand sanitizer; details below**
With the COVID-19 pandemic escalating over the last few weeks, airlines have been looking at new measures to help fight the outbreak. In a bid to help protect its employees, United Airlines is producing its own hand sanitizer at its maintenance center in San Francisco.
Tools in place
According to a press release, the Chicago-based carrier registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a new manufacturer of the product. There are nearly 3,000 employees at the Californian facility who rely on sanitizer more than ever during the public health crisis. Therefore, United is looking to become self-reliant and produce the gel independently.
This facility has enough space, resources, and equipment to implement the initiative. Additionally, with chemists and chemical engineers at hand, the site has the expertise to produce the products.
The United engine shop’s remanufacturing department has already created its first of what will be many large batches of alcohol-based sanitizer. Some have been made to be distributed in spray bottles, while others were produced to replenish dispensers in common areas of the operator’s locations.
United shared that it won’t be long before units are produced regularly enough to be used across the company. Therefore, crew members could soon be using them on flights.
Welding senior manager George Skoufos is working hard to procure certain ingredients and spray bottles. He said thousands of the materials are on order and are due to arrive next week.
The manager said the following, as per United’s press release.
“Supplies are still in very high demand, but fortunately we were able to procure and take delivery of enough chemicals and containers to get started.”
There is a huge global need for sanitizers amid the spread of the virus. Several stores are regularly selling out of the product due to people rushing to stock up. The situation is forcing many members of the public to make their own formulas. However, there have been safety concerns about homebrews as efficacy cannot be verified.
Airline employees are continuing to work despite the downturn in flight activity. They are mainly working on essential services such as repatriation flights or medical supply cargo operations.
Therefore, while they remain in the public sphere, they must receive suitable protection against the virus. Initiatives such as this won’t only help protect the employees, but it can also protect others that they are in contact with. Even though United continues to struggle amid the outbreak, it is doing its best to help.
Simple Flying reached out to United for comment on the introduction of its hand sanitizer. A spokesperson confirmed that the products can only be used by United employees due to FDA regulations.
What are your thoughts on United making hand sanitizer products? Are you glad to see the airline taking a proactive approach in improving the safety of its staff? Let us know what you think of the move in the comment section.