Airlines are currently intensifying their cleaning measures. But how exactly does the disinfection of aircraft work?
Aircraft are cleaned after each flight as a standard procedure. Major cleaning operations take place at regular intervals. But in times of the coronavirus this is in many cases no longer enough. Many airlines have extended standard cleaning to include special procedures. This partly depends on the routes served, some airlines decide to do so if there was a suspicious case on board, some do it on every flight.
The latter is the case with Lufthansa, for example. «If a highly infectious disease is suspected, a special, additional disinfection of the aircraft is mandatory,» a spokesman said. This is carried out in accordance with the Standard Operation Procedures for highly infectious diseases.
Different types of disinfection depending on the case
The scope of this measure would depend on the exact situation. The cabin can be cleaned, for example, by wipe disinfection or with a disinfecting spray that is distributed as a mist throughout the cabin and completely covers all surfaces. If necessary, individual cabin components can also be completely replaced, according to the spokesman.
With regard to the coronavirus, Easyjet says it is following the «recommendations of the authorities closely». Vietnam Airlines now subjects all aircraft coming to Vietnam from international destinations to a special cleaning. «In addition, all aircraft in which passengers with symptoms or suspected health problems have flown will be disinfected,» an airline spokesman told aeroTELEGRAPH.
Emirates disinfects all aircraft in Dubai
The passenger cabin, cockpit, galley and the rest areas for cabin crew are sanitized. In particular, areas that are often touched by passengers’ hands will be disinfected, says the airline. These include the overhead bin or the armrests, but also carpets and the surface of the seat. The aircraft is ready for operation 30 minutes after disinfection.
Emirates announces that disinfection measures have also been intensified on all aircraft departing from its Dubai hub. The cabins are fully disinfected by cleaning staff. Windows, storage tables, backrest screens, armrests, seats, seat controls, panels, vents and lockers in the cabin, to toilets, galleys and crew rest areas – everything is disinfected with approved environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Up to eight hours in extreme cases
«All Emirates aircraft are equipped with cabin air filters, which have been proven to filter out 99.97 percent of viruses,» the airline continues. If there was a passenger on board who was suspected or even confirmed to be infected with the virus, the crews clean even more meticulously. This process takes up to eight hours. This includes replacing all cabin filters and fogging the entire cabin with disinfectants, with a special focus on fabrics such as seat covers and cushions in the affected area.
Delta Air Lines has standardly integrated fogging of the cabin with a disinfectant into the cleaning process. This has proven to be successful in the fight against many viruses, including corona viruses. This process is followed by another thorough cleaning of surfaces such as tables, screens and toilets.