After purchasing a hangar facility at the Muskoka Airport last year, Skyservice has announced that its expanding operations in Gravenhurst and at other locations across the country by offering the installation of purification systems that kill COVID-19 and other pathogens, both in the air and on surfaces.
The purification systems from Aviation Clean Air (ACA) improve air quality by killing pathogens, removing allergens and eliminating odors without the use of chemicals, according to ACA. In tests performed by Innovative BioAnalysis, the ionizer used in the ACA air purification and sanitization process was found effective in neutralizing COVID-19, with one lab test showing that 99.4 per cent of the virus particles were inactivated within 30 minutes. Glenn Williams, director of business development and sales for business aircraft at Skyservice, said the test results speak for themselves when it comes to the value of the purification systems, adding that Skyservice beat other companies to the punch by receiving certification for the first install in Canada.
The company primarily works with aircraft leasing companies and charter airlines rather than large commercial airlines, but Williams said they’ve had some major airlines contact them about installing the ACA systems in their airliners. For their regular clientele, having the ACA system could potentially increase revenues in addition to providing peace of mind, he said, as customers are likely to opt for planes with the systems.
“It cleans and scrubs the air and kills all the pathogens in the airplane when the owners are flying,” Williams said. “Also if the owners are chartering their airplane, obviously [they] don’t know who’s on board and someone could be infected, so by the time they get back on, they know the aircraft is sanitized and clean.”
Along with offering customers permanent installations of the ACA systems, Skyservice is making use of portable purification units to keep their operations safe.
“What we do with any airplanes that we’re doing maintenance on at all bases now, before it comes into the maintenance shop, we plug this fan in for a half hour and let it run inside the airplane,” Williams said. “Then prior to departure, we do the same thing again.”
The portable fan units are also used for on-demand sanitization at Skyservice’s Fixed Based Operations in cities like Toronto and Ottawa, but for now, Muskoka operations will focus on permanent ACA installs. This week, the company is installing a system on a Global 5000 aircraft while also performing a maintenance check and full repaint.
When Skyservice bought the hangar at the Muskoka Airport, they also purchased the past owner’s maintenance organization, leading the company to offer paint services. They’ve taken on many paint jobs since they acquired the hangar, Williams said, in addition to having three airplanes from their own fleet in the shop with more on the way.
The company was days away from announcing dozens of job postings to support their expanding services when COVID hit, so they decided to put the hiring on pause until the flying industry starts to recover and supplement with employees from their Toronto base in the meantime. While some aspects of their operations are on hold, the ACA systems and paint services are part of continuing efforts to make the Muskoka Airport a destination for aircraft maintenance.
“We also have our full interior capabilities out of Montreal that we’re migrating up to Muskoka as well,” Williams said. “We’re looking to make Muskoka a one-stop shop where you can have heavy maintenance, complete interior refurbishment and paint.”