As the world locks down to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, helicopter crews around the world have answered the call to help support key industries.

There have been countless examples of companies modifying the interiors of their helicopter fleets to protect their employees, and contingency plans have been set in place for those workers who develop the flu-like symptoms to ensure that they can be flown to a hospital as quickly and safely as possible.

Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro-based Omni Táxi Aéreo has led the way by quickly modifying its fleet of aircraft that normally transports workers in the Oil and Gas sector. It has fitted its aircraft with lined seats, limited the number of passengers and used protective curtains to isolate the cabin from the cockpit; added monitoring by a nursing technician on all flights and forced cabin ventilation and the use of protective masks and overalls for crews. After each flight the nursing staff carefully clean the aircraft.

If an employee is suspected of having coronavirus symptoms or confirmed with COVID-19, a dedicated transport helicopter, Omni Táxi Aéreo’s S-76C++ aeromedical aircraft, complete with stretcher and onboard medical staff and which follows the same sanitary cleaning procedures as the rest of the fleet, will be used to transport them.

Roberto Coimbra, Omni’s CEO, stated that safety is a priority and all the measures that have been set in place are reviewed daily: “We are in permanent contact with the health authorities through our medical professionals, with the aeronautical authorities and manufacturers through to our personnel in the operational areas. Our COVID-19 prevention measures are being improved daily, so that we can continue to serve the Oil and Gas market with agility and in total safety for our employees and passengers.”

At a time when the world needs to come together to fight this pandemic, it relies on the production and supply of its vital resources. More than ever, the actions and operations of helicopter crews within the Oil and Gas sector and other similar industries are playing their part in this global endeavour. Keep safe, keep flying and thank you.

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