Boeing has launched a Confident Travel Initiative (CTI), where the company will work with stakeholders across the aviation industry’s ecosystem to establish cleaning and disinfecting recommendations.
“Boeing is committed to the health of airline passengers and crew,” says Jim Haas, Director – Product Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We’re working with partners to enhance aircraft cleanliness procedures and to develop common system-wide standards that will be key to a safe experience from curbside to airplane.”
The most significant contributor is the air filtration system which incorporates High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters which are already present on all commercial airplanes that Boeing delivers and are similar to filters used in hospitals.
Haas explained that half of the cabin air is from outside the airplane and half is recirculated from inside the cabin. Before recirculated air is returned to the cabin, it passes through the HEPA filters which remove more than 99.9%+ of any particulate matter that may be present.
Air flows from the ceiling to floor, not front to back, which helps minimise particulates spreading throughout the cabin. This recirculation happens approximately 20-30 times an hour, or once every two to three minutes.
Although HEPA has not yet been tested with the COVID 19 virus, according to Mayo Clinic, the average size of a COVID-19 particle is 0.12 – 0.125 microns, HEPA filters have been tested at these particle sizes and shown the efficiency to be more than 99.9+%.
Boeing is also evaluating promising research regarding ultraviolet disinfection that can be used safely and quickly to clean high-touch surfaces in airplane interiors such as ultraviolet light wands for disinfection, and using anti-microbial and anti-viral coatings on surfaces and high-touch points throughout the cabin.
Besides passenger airplanes, Boeing is working with airlines on the safe transportation of cargo in this new environment.