Nova announced that they have switched production in their Hungary factory from paragliders to protective masks and gowns, to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Nova are based in Austria where, as in a growing number of other countries, it is recommended that everyone should wear a face mask in public in order to reduce the rate of spread of the virus.
Nova switched their production in order to help address a shortage of the masks for the general public – they are not medically certified items for frontline doctors and medical staff. They are also manufacturing protective gowns.
Like the entire recreational aviation industry, the coronavirus crisis caught NOVA unawares. The demand for paragliders completely collapsed within two weeks. National associations stopped paragliding instruction and, in some countries, even recreational flying is prohibited. Also, travel restrictions are likely to make flying trips impossible for the next few weeks or even months.
So, what to do? Since 1990, NOVA has had its own production facility with a Hungarian partner as a joint venture. Thanks to their high degree of flexibility, they made a virtue out of necessity and have been sewing only a few paragliders since last week – but non-certified masks and coats instead. “The changeover was made possible within a few days”, says managing director Sissi Eisl, “because the masks and coats are much less complex than sewing paragliders.” Currently the capacity of the Pécs plant is around 4,000 masks per day, but this can be increased if necessary.”
Sissi Eisl adds: “In the interests of our employees and all those who will use our masks and coats, we are pleased that we were able to react so quickly. However, like presumably all paraglider pilots, I hope that the crisis will soon be overcome and we can go flying together again. And for NOVA it would, of course, be good news to be able to switch production back to paragliders again soon”.
The masks are sold in packs of 50, the coats in packs on 10 pieces at 150 euro per pack (+ shipping and VAT). Find out more here.