The EnhancedClean Program Ensuring Airports and Airplanes Are Safe Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

ABM Industries, a leading provider of turnkey janitorial systems for many of the U.S.’ largest airports and airlines, recently launched its new EnhancedClean program, which will prove instrumental in the travel industry’s battle against COVID-19 in the aviation space.

A global company, ABM provides comprehensive facilities management solutions to not just the aviation sector, but in hospitals, schools, commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and data centers. Client companies, small and large, turn to ABM as a single-source to supply janitorial and custodial service, supplies and technologies.

In the air travel industry, ABM is contracted by airlines and airports to take care of everything from aircraft and airport terminal cleaning to janitorial for parking facilities, shuttle buses, transportation services, passenger services and retail venues.

Abruptly faced with new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, ABM brought in its interdisciplinary Expert Advisory Council—comprised of board-certified experts in infectious disease and industrial hygiene—and partnered with outside specialists and esteemed schools of medicine to formulate its new EnhancedClean program. It’s a three-step, rigorous, next-level sanitation, disinfection and hygiene system that can be tailored to meet the needs of any given facility to answer today’s heightened cleaning demands.

“We recognized very early on that what we provide, in terms of our janitorial services, are going to be even more critical than they were before for rebuilding the trust in travel, in the experience,” ABM’s President of Aviation, Alex Marren, told TravelPulse. “As you know, the airports and airlines didn’t really shut down. A lot of businesses either closed their offices or schools closed, but—in our world, in travel and aviation—although it was much reduced, we’ve been open since all of this really started back in March.”

“Whether it’s an airplane or an airport, the cleaning protocols really have become the top priority. Obviously, we have flight safety, we have servicing on time, but—just like what happened with 9/11 and the focus on security—now we have the focus on ‘how do we help our clients achieve a clean, healthy and safe travel experience?’; and we really see that as the ‘new normal’ in the industry and rebuilding the trust of the traveler,” she explained.

The EnhancedClean process consists of three steps:

1. Return Safely: Step one, ABM performs a comprehensive site assessment in order to create a customized strategy for a safe return to business; plus, a one-time, completely thorough disinfection of the premises.

2. High-Touch Disinfection: Next, site-specific recommendations are issued on frequent, thorough disinfection protocols for high-touch areas to be performed throughout the day; to simultaneously keep germs at bay, and reassure building occupants and customers that the utmost is being done for their protection.

3. Broader Disinfection: Lastly, a plan is established for implementing large-scale disinfection strategies, using such tools as UV devices and electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade EPA-registered products, for broader disinfection coverage to be applied at after-hours or at set intervals.

While not a step unto itself, one element of ABM’s overall EnhancedClean strategy also goes a long way towards re-establishing trust and confidence among air-travel customers: visible reassurance materials.

“’Safety Seen’ is our mantra here at ABM,” explained Marren. “People want to know that more is being done,” and ABM has all kinds of ready-made communication tools that can be branded by clients—including signage that might be placed in restrooms, waiting areas or at gates—that detail what’s being done on-site and visual reminders of how passengers can do their part to help everyone stay healthy.

In this climate, consumers are thinking, “‘Give me some proof points that you’ve done something more and different’, and that’s another big part of what we do as part of our program,” Marren explained.

ABM currently serves 20 airlines and 75 airport locations around the world, including 27 of the top 30 busiest U.S. airports, such as Atlanta International, New York’s LaGuardia, and the international terminals at JFK International and Los Angeles International Airport. Its major U.S. airline clientele includes United Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, and Southwest.

All of ABM’s team members undergo specialized, in-depth training to ensure absolute comprehension and consistent program delivery, with higher-level training for those who’ll be using electrostatic sprayers and other newly-adopted disinfection techniques. Employees must pass written exams and demonstrate the ability to perform requisite tasks to be registered and work as Certified Disinfection Specialists.

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