Aviation and Health: The long road ahead.

Aviation security when examined on the wider scope isn’t about protection of civil aviation against any acts of unlawful interference’s alone. The security-risk assessment carried out by concerned authorities (for example IATA) in the sector have since years ago extended tentacles to the areas of health risks and hazards too. This is because the safety, as well as health consistency of crews and passengers, are equally important as that of aircraft and other properties being funded to inspire the smooth running of aviation operations in any single firms or airports. 

The International Labor Organization (ILO) in one of its most recent publication written to encourage workers motivation globally has it that certain percentage of firms’ budget should go into workers health and safety annually depending on the susceptibility of workers to health-related risks and hazards in firms. However, the safety of clients is also a necessity for firms that produce consumables and render sensitive services which could aid the transmission of health concerns at the slightest freedom. This is why there are regulatory certifications to support or promulgate that products and services purchased from certain firms in industries are pro-health. 

The question of health in aviation has also grown tremendously since technology has developed in sync with and reshaped virtually all facets of global markets, industries and sectors to fit the modern. It has been one of the parameters examined and evaluated for both intra and inter-sectorial viability test of industries operations. This is why companies like Virus Guard could focus all its operations, products and services on nothing else but the health safety of passenger and crews to revolutionize infection control and save air transporters of possible scares as concerned their health, knowing full well that millions of lives have been lost in the past centuries owing to imported diseases from other countries. Most recently of such is the outcry surrounding Ebola and Zika virus. There is thus a reason to find a connection between health and aviation.

According to an essay compiled by Narinda Kapur and his research team in 2015, it was said that safety in aviation has often been compared with that of healthcare, the reason being that they are two organized industries with key convergent and divergent points of safety-related behaviors. In his approach, he stated the safety-related domains which include training, crew resources management and investigation, reporting of incidences, organizational culture and sterile cockpit. It was opined that while healthcare probably has a lot more to learn from the aviation industry in certain key domains, the transfer of lesson from the aviation industry to healthcare industry has to be nuanced especially with specific characteristics and more importantly with the need of healthcare borne in mind in the aviation industry. The two industries are advised to prioritize resourcing of staffs who specialize in human factors and perhaps related psychological aspects of clients’ safety as well as staffs well-being. It is thus very important that cabin crews are well brought up in the areas of health orientation such that their health, as well as that of passengers, could be effectively managed. 

The heavy investment of the aviation sector and their obvious concerns on the issues of passengers and staffs health are enough to signal to everyone on how important the issues of health is to the industry. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) which is undoubtedly the largest airline trade association having in its book up to 290 airlines that primarily consist of major airlines representing at least 117 countries and accounting for nothing less than 80 percent of total Available Seat Miles air traffic has shown massive support for health in aviation by formulating policies and industry standards for the same. It has rightly pointed out that health-related issues concerning air passengers and crews are crucial in most airlines activities as they cover matters as diverse as duty time limitation, transmission of communicable diseases and disinfection. It has thus set up a structure (IATA Medical Advisory Role) to contribute immensely to an efficient and cost-effective approach to handling medical issues in the industry. It has also formed a Medical Advisory Group by bringing together airlines medical experts from around the world to provide advice to the industry and the major stakeholders therein.

In a similar vein, the Convention on International Civil Aviation has been signed by the government of 191 states in a bid to prevent the spread of disease. This is according to article 14 of the convention in an obvious attempt to fortify the efforts of the collaboration of ICAO, WHO, IATA, ACI, and other concerned authorities to checkmate the spread of communicable diseases through effective preparedness and multi-stakeholders approach. They have so mannered that initial actions are taken in the event of public health emergencies by key players by ensuring that plans are tested by tabletop or realistic scenarios. The players are made to understand the importance of health safety in the aviation industry, how safety should be regulated, how safety working practices should be implemented and the roles of supervisors and their responsibilities within a human factor programme. Not only this, the organized systems are used to monitor, control and improve health and safety in the industry. 

To shed the burdens on regional and international authorities as the case may be, the major players and airlines have also taken private steps to ensure health safety in aviation and air travel. Majority of them; Qatar AirwaysOman AirFlynas, Air Arabia to name a few have partnered with VirusGuard to ensure safe air travel by conducting aircraft disinfection to keep passengers safe from outbreaks and ensure that the liabilities they may force on the industry do not have a direct impact on their revenues. This is made possible by the products of the firm which comes in various sizes and functions to disinfect all surfaces up to 10 days, help effective fight against all viruses, bacteria, and fungi and reduces the need for regular cleaning by 50 percent. These products are also people friendly as they diffuse gently in event of contamination and are ultimately food safety. Going by these milestones, we could say that Aviation is life, but health in aviation is more life. Your airline could join the campaign to bring maximum health safety to the industry too.