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IATA assures it is safe to fly despite pandemic


The aviation sector has put in enough safeguards to enable the public to return to air travel, Anand Stanley, newly appointed President for Airbus in the Asia-Pacific region announced in the aircraft manufacturer’s virtual press briefing in the country the other day.

The international Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Airports Council International (ACI), together with regulators, airlines, airports and aircraft manufacturers collaborated to make flying safe.

Precaution begins at the airports as access to terminal buildings is restricted.

Temperature is checked and there’s minimum contact with others as passengers check-in and board the aircraft.

At the gate, appropriate social distancing measures are being put in place and airlines are adopting new boarding and disembarkation procedures, plus restriction on carry-on baggage to avoid bottle-necks in the aircraft.

On board the aircraft, the cabin provides a very low risk environment due to the advanced air ventilation and filtration systems, as well as air flow patterns.

“Clean air has always been a priority in our cabin design, with air flow, pressure, temperature and quality continuously monitored,” Stanley explained.

“The air in the cabin is completely renewed every two to three minutes. The quality of the air in the cabin is in fact similar to an operating theatre in a hospital.”

Air enters the cabin through vents near the overhead bins and travels in a downward direction at a rate of 1 meter per second.

This strong downward flow avoids transversal movement of the air within the cabin, reducing risk of cross-contamination.

The air then exits the cabin through floor level vents and passes through High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.

These remove 99.95% of particles from the cabin air, including bacteria and viruses such as the relatively large coronavirus.

The purified filtered air is then mixed with fresh air drawn from outside the aircraft before entering the cabin.

Enhanced cleaning procedures are done between flights. These cover the whole cabin, including fittings around each seat, galleys and lavatories.

Only cleaning products approved by the aircraft manufacturers are used. New longer lasting products are being used providing protection for up to five days.

In addition, during the current phase, temporary protection measures are being introduced by airlines for passengers and crew.

These include the wearing of masks on-board and management of passenger flows inside the cabin during boarding, flight and disembarkation.

“All these measures ensure a safe environment for passengers and crew,” Stanley noted. “This makes us confident that air travel will remain the safest form of transport even in this most
challenging time.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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