PANDEMIC NEWS UPDATE: U.N. agency calls for “feasible” social distancing on flights; 267,000 flights added this week; NASA grants licenses for ventilator production; German aircraft to measure air pollution
By Cat Hofacker|June 3, 2020
Our weekly compendium of coronavirus news
• The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization in a report issued Monday calls for the air transport industry to implement “risk-based temporary measures,” including temperature screening of passengers and requiring physical distancing aboard aircraft “to the extent feasible.” “Our work must recognize the need to reduce public health risk while being sensitive to what is operationally feasible for airlines, airports and other aviation interests,” reads the report, titled “Takeoff: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis.”
• Global airline capacity is up 16% this week compared to flight schedules the last week in May, according to data from London-based aviation analytics firm OAG. That amounts to an additional 267,000 flights scheduled this week by airlines around the world.
• NASA on Friday selected eight U.S. companies to manufacture the low-cost ventilator for covid-19 patients designed by engineers at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California earlier this year.
• The U.S. Defense Department awarded a $6 million contract to SolAero Technologies of New Mexico to increase production of satellite solar cells and solar arrays, the department said Friday. The contract, awarded under the Defense Production Act, will “retain critical workforce capabilities throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19 and to restore some jobs lost because of the pandemic,” according to a press release.
• A research team led by DLR, the German Aerospace Center, is investigating the extent to which covid-19 travel restrictions decreased air pollution, the agency announced last week. Two DLR research aircraft will fly over parts of Europe and the North Atlantic for two weeks, their onboard instruments measuring concentrations of trace gases and pollutants.