Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Airflow inside aircraft only from top to bottom, not front-back or left-right: Airbus reassures wary flyers

New Delhi: When flights resume and you take to the skies again, do not panic when someone on the rows ahead or behind you sneezes or coughs. There is minimal risk of the dreaded coronavirus — assuming the person sneezing or coughing is an undiagnosed infected and is wearing a mask — finding its way to you by transmission through air inside the cabin, according to European aerospace major Airbus.

The aircraft manufacturer says its cabin airflow and filtration systems virtually rule out airborne transmission of contaminants like coronavirus on flights.
To be sure while airborne transmission has been ruled out, Airbus reiterates everyone onboard must follow heightened norms of hygiene like disinfecting hands and wearing masks, decontamination of surfaces and controlled boarding to ensure that the virus does not spread through surfaces of common touchpoints like lavatory doorknobs. The mandate for facial covering should keep you safe even if the person next to you sneezes or coughs.
“The air inside an aircraft is extremely clean due to three reasons and air travel therefore remains the safest mode of transport. There is no airflow between front and back or left and right,” Anand Stanley, Airbus (India and South Asia) president and managing director, told TOI.
Firstly, “every seat gets a powerful downward wash of air at the rate of one metre per second. Airflow movement happens only from top to bottom and air is sucked out at the bottom of the floor. This does not happen on any mode of surface transport. There is no cross contamination through airflow,” Stanley said.
Secondly, “air is fully recycled every 2 to 3 minutes. The air sucked in at 10,000 metre altitude is cold (at -50 degrees Celsius), dry and uncontaminated. The inside air is at ambient temperature and is constantly and fully recycled every 2-3 minutes,” he said.
And finally, the air sucked in passes through very power hepa filters that can keep even PM 2.5 particles out. “Coronavirus is a relatively big in size. Hepa filters keep almost all spectrum of particles, almost 99.95% to 99.99% particles, out. This kind of filtration does not happen on any mode of transport or even on ground in homes or offices. These three factors make air inside the cabin extremely clean and safe,” Stanley said.
11/05/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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