Aviation Conference Adds Last-Minute Session on Ebola

Organizers of the National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition adapted the schedule to address interest in the subject.

By Mitra Sorrells October 21, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

The National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition will address how the industry should respond to the Ebola outbreak. The meeting is taking place at the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando Executive Airport.

Photo: Courtesy of NBAA

As more than 25,000 people converge on the Orange County Convention Center today for the start of the National Business Aviation Association conference, they will find a last-minute addition to the schedule: a session Wednesday on Ebola risk management. The event attracts an international audience of business aviation professionals who are responsible for both the maintenance of their aircraft and for the safety of their passengers, and buzz about the health issue late last week prompted organizers to make the change.

“We have some exhibitors that work on medical air services. Last week during set up, they had said casually if people ask about Ebola and best practices, to send them to their booth,” said Chris Strong, the association’s senior vice president for conventions and membership. “That got us thinking. It’s apparent this is a hot topic, so we want to make sure we’re a place the industry can have a conversation on this.” Organizers began putting together the session on Friday, and by Saturday morning they were publicizing it through email and social media.

The session will be led by Dr. Paulo M. Alves, vice president of aviation and maritime health for MedAire, and Dr. Quay Snyder, president and C.E.O. of Aviation Medicine Advisory Service. The two will discuss appropriate practices for minimizing exposure risk, disinfection processes, the appropriateness of flight restrictions to high-risk areas of Africa, and other related topics.

The session will take place in the “Innovation Zone,” a new section on the show floor that will be used for education and networking events. Strong said they created the presentation area to bring some of the energy from the education program onto the show floor and also to give attendees a reason to spend more time there.

The event includes more than 1,100 exhibitors and an indoor display of about a dozen light airplanes and helicopters. Working with local law enforcement, organizers shut down a section of road between the Orlando International Airport and the convention center around 2 a.m. Saturday morning so the aircraft could be towed to the facility. An additional display of nearly 100 larger aircraft is at Orlando Executive Airport, which attendees can reach through a free shuttle.

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