Aeronautical companies Boeing and Airbus are conducting research into the behavior of the coronavirus within aircraft, an initiative that is part of efforts to minimize the risks during travel of becoming infected with the virus, which has led to a drastic reduction in the air traffic.
As confirmed by The Wall Street Journal, the investigations are working academics, engineers and medical experts to examine measures to prevent the transmission of diseases on airplanes, said “sources familiar with the matter.”
The effort to understand the risks of air travel during a pandemic comes as airlines try to reassure passengers and convince them that wearing face masks during flights and filtering the air provide sufficient protection.
Boeing is developing computerized models that simulate the cabin environment that could be used by airlines, health authorities and regulators to make decisions about how to prevent contagion, and is also studying the use of ultraviolet lights to disinfect its aircraft.
“We are taking steps to better understand any potential risks,” a Boeing spokesperson told the New York outlet.
For its part, Airbus is exchanging information with US universities. and other countries, and exploring other methods to reduce the spread of the virus, including materials with self-cleaning properties, disinfectants that can last up to 5 days, or bathroom appliances that do not require contact.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been in contact with Airbus, Boeing, and experts from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to discuss the risk that airplane passengers are facing and how to mitigate them, the reports said. sources to the WSJ.
For years, the outlet points out, the FAA has been funding research on how to measure and prevent fuel seepage and oil vapors in airplane passenger cabins, although this work has not yet been applied to the behavior of the coronavirus on aircraft. .
Although there is extensive knowledge about aircraft ventilation systems and how pathogens can spread during a flight, the researchers said it is still unknown how the coronavirus works in particular.
“There are a lot of things that are unknown right now,” John Scott Meschke, a microbiologist who works as a professor at the University of Washington and who has answered some of Boeing’s doubts about the spread of the virus, told WSJ.
The problem of coronavirus aircraft spreading is gaining more and more weight with the gradual return to normality, and as airlines are reporting that flight bookings are starting to increase after being forced to reduce the price of your tickets up to 90%.
Last Friday, when a long weekend in the US began with the celebration of Memorial Day, some 349,000 people passed through the security posts of the country’s airports, according to the Department of Transportation Security, a figure that it is still 88% lower than that registered during much of March, when the pandemic had already begun.