Cabin designers rethink aircraft to improve safety post-COVID

6th of July 2020
Cabin designers rethink aircraft to improve safety post-COVID

Seat dividers, antimicrobial surfaces and heat treatments are among the suggestions being made for improving aircraft cabin safety in future.

Literature pockets could be replaced with open nets or eliminated altogether, with safety card information being printed on seat backs instead.

Ideas for safer flying post-COVID-19 were discussed at a recent webinar staged by aircraft interiors industry specialist RedCabin. Around half the participants felt that an extra level of manual cleaning on all cabin touchpoints would be difficult to sustain as air traffic increases.

"During peak periods of 2019 there were roughly 105,000 flights globally per day," said Ben Bettell from Counterpoint, provider of aerospace market reports. "Each aeroplane has an average of 200 seats and it probably takes three minutes for one person to clean a seat. So an airline would need a dedicated cleaning staff of ten in order to turn a 200-passenger aircraft around in an hour."

Most webinar participants favoured electrostatic fog disinfection and UVC light disinfection over increased manual cleaning, while other suggestions included the use of antimicrobial cabin surfaces plus the introduction of on-board cleaning. Emirates already requires its cabin crew to carry out cleaning tasks to reduce the burden on ground crew, participants were told.

Also discussed was the possibility of raising cabin temperature to levels that would kill viruses between flights. However, the likelihood of damaging cabin components was considered too great and the process of heating cabins was thought to be unsustainable at scale.

And while the inclusion of screens between seats was mooted, only 25 per cent of participants felt airlines would be willing to pay for them. The fact that on board screens would lead to extra surfaces to clean was considered to be another negative.


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