Hand sanitizer

United Airlines is making its own hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is in high demand around the world as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. In many cities, it is almost impossible to find hand sanitizer and keep in stock.

To address the shortage, many liquor and perfume companies around the world are using their distilleries and production facilities to make sanitizing solutions of their own. Some of it they sell; some they give to hospitals and health care facilities and first responders.

Now United Airlines is doing it too.

San Francisco-based maintenance technician George Skoufos came up with the idea.

In late March he enlisted chemists and chemical engineers at the maintenance center at San Francisco International Airport to use chemicals they have on hand to whip up a sample batch of sanitizer.

They then got the recipe registered with the Food and Drug Administration.

In just a few weeks, employees at the center produced 550 gallons of hand sanitizer. That is enough to supply the entire base.

Now production is being ramped up so that the airline-made sanitizer can be distributed to United facilities worldwide.

A United spokesperson said the in-house sanitizer helps take the pressure off buying hand sanitizer from the open market. It also means more commercially made sanitizer is available for those working on the front lines of the healthcare system.

And it means there’s work for some of the idled United’s technicians and other employees who usually fix planes and plane parts at a time when few planes are flying.

(All photos courtesy of United Airlines)

Hand sanitizer challenge at KCI Airport

Air travel may be grinding to a halt, but airports are doing their best to keep facilities clean and safe for those who must still get on a plane.

That’s why this message from Kansas City International Airport (KCI) shared on Sunday afternoon is so disturbing.

KCI reports that over the weekend several hand sanitizer dispensers were ripped off the walls in airport restrooms.

As you may imagine, wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers are in high demand right now and are sold out almost everywhere.

“We are not able to purchase any more for months,” KCI Airport explains on its Facebook page.

KCI says it’s doing all it can to protect the health of its customers, “but this act makes that difficult.”

Right now the airport can only get hand sanitizer in dispenser bags. And if it transfers that hand sanitizer into bottles, the airport knows it’s likely those bottles would disappear too.

Airport officials say they’re reviewing the surveillance footage outside the restrooms. But for not, KCI reminds travelers that it has “plenty of soap and paper towel dispensers intact, and there are still hand sanitizer dispensers in most restrooms.”

Earlier this month, in a note outlining its efforts to address COVID-19, Kansas City Aviation said its custodial team had stepped up cleaning and disinfecting efforts in restrooms and public areas.

“Throughout the day, they are checking and refilling soap, paper towel and hand sanitizer dispensers,” KCI officials said. “Airlines, concessionaires and other tenants have increased cleaning efforts in their areas, including post-security. Flyers are posted in restrooms, a Health Department educational video is running on flight information displays and CNN Airport Channel is running a video on its monitors.”