Delta Flight Products, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines, which normally focuses on aircraft interiors has turned its attention to manufacturing thousands of clear visor face shields – an essential component in the personal protective equipment (PPE) arsenal of healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
The team at the Atlanta-based airline produced a design in collaboration with the Global Center for Medical Innovation and have already started manufacturing the shields in bulk. By Friday, around 2,000 shields will be despatched to New York City – the worst affected state in the U.S. for COVID-19 infections.
In recent days there has been concern that dwindling supplies of PPE is putting healthcare workers at heightened risk of exposure and some doctors and nurses are fashioning their own masks because stock is so limited.
The visors being produced by Delta Flight Products are designed to reduce the risk of virus exposure to the eyes and to extend the usable life of much-needed N95 masks. Once the initial order is despatched to New York, the team will immediately start work on producing 4,000 more for use in hospitals in the Atlanta area.
Delta isn’t alone in repurposing its existing manufacturing capabilities to produce the sought-after face shields. European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is running a bank of twenty 3D printers day and night to produce thousands of face shields at its plant in Spain.
Airbus has suspended all normal aircraft manufacturing at its facilities in the country after the country was badly hit by a surge in COVID-19 cases. The aerospace giant has also opened an “air bridge” between Europe and China, ferrying millions of face masks to where they are most needed on the frontlines of the pandemic is Spain, France, Italy the UK and elsewhere.
There’s been a huge effort throughout the aviation industry to help in the worldwide effort but not all industry-players have been quite so willing to assist.
Aircraft engine manufacturer GE Aviation has come in for substantial criticism for choosing to slash its workforce by 10 per cent, furloughing 2,600 workers in order to save costs. The CWA union, however, has urged the company to instead repurpose its facilities to manufacture much-needed ventilators before the U.S. runs out.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.