AAAE Partners with ISSA & Global Biorisk Advisory Council to Help Airports Achieve Cleaning & Disinfection Accreditation

July 14, 2020

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, have established a formal partnership to accredit airports that meet the highest levels of cleanliness and safety at their facilities to minimize risk from coronavirus and other infectious agents.

As part of the agreement, AAAE will act as a strategic partner with GBAC for two programs that will help airports and airport personnel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation Program, which helps public and commercial facilities establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to minimize risks associated with infectious agents and biohazards.
  • GBAC Fundamentals Online Course: Cleaning & Disinfection Principles, an e-learning course that trains cleaning professionals on infection and contamination control measures for infectious disease prevention.

GBAC Programs Overview

GBAC STAR provides third-party validation that facilities have the proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and work practices to meet a higher level of cleanliness and safety. Launched in early May, the performance-based accreditation program has garnered commitments from leaders in the aviation industry, including American Airlines, Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, and Palm Beach International Airport. Other notable enterprises and venues to commit to the program include Hyatt Hotels, the Miami Dolphins/Hard Rock Stadium, Visit Dallas, and a host of convention centers in the United States.

To achieve GBAC STAR accreditation, facilities must demonstrate compliance with the program’s 20 elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures. Facilities apply online and provide all documentation and supporting evidence with their application.

The GBAC Fundamentals Online Course: Cleaning & Disinfection Principles training covers a variety of cleaning and disinfection topics with a special emphasis on SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Participants in the 2- to 3-hour course learn infection and contamination control measures for infectious disease outbreak situations. Those who complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion from GBAC and can use the term “GBAC-Trained Technician” to distinguish themselves.

“We are pleased to partner with ISSA and GBAC on these programs that will empower our members to incorporate best practices around cleaning and disinfection,” AAAE Executive Vice President Jacky Sher Raker said. “By pursuing GBAC accreditation and training, AAAE members will have the opportunity to establish themselves as industry leaders in ensuring clean, safe, and healthy airport environments that instill confidence among travelers, staff, and other key constituents.”

“We are grateful for AAAE’s partnership and commitment to GBAC STAR,” GBAC Executive Director Patty Olinger added. “Together, we will help airports implement strict protocols for biorisk situations that foster clean, safe, and healthy environments now and in the future.”

AAAE Establishes GBAC STAR Working Group

As part of AAAE’s commitment to endorsing GBAC STAR facility accreditation for its members, the association has formed the AAAE Working Group for GBAC STAR Accreditation. This committee is composed of AAAE members who represent airports across the United States:

  • Ken Buchanan, Executive Vice President, Revenue Management and Customer Experience, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
  • Chris Dietz, Director of Operations/Maintenance, Rapid City Regional Airport
  • Kelly Johnson, A.A.E., Chief Operating Officer, Northwest Arkansas National Airport
  • Gabriel Nevarez, Deputy Aviation Director for Facilities, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Ryan Sheehan, A.A.E., Director of Operations/Maintenance, Spokane International Airport
  • Leroy Sisneros, Director of Facilities, San Francisco International Airport
  • Scott Skramstad, C.M., Assistant Director, Operations/Facilities, Metropolitan Airports Commission-Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • Doug Stearns, C.M., ACE, Senior Advisor to the Director of Aviation, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
  • Cathryn Stephens, A.A.E., Acting Airport Director, Eugene Airport
  • Michelle Wilcut, Deputy Director of Aviation and Customer Service, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

AAAE Working Group members will collaborate with the GBAC Scientific Advisory Board to develop a GBAC STAR Airports template that will advise airport executives on best practices and help them to identify gaps in their cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and work practices to combat biohazards and infectious disease as they prepare for GBAC STAR accreditation.