Since the beginning of 2020, 44 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in which the transfer is considered to be flight-related (including confirmed, probable and potential cases), while around 1,2 billion passengers traveled in the same period, the analysis shows. International Air Transport Association (IATA) which showed a low frequency of COVID-19 transmission during flight.
Thus, only 44 cases of covid infection19 were recorded among 1,2 billion passengers in air transport or 1 case for every 27,3 million passengers.
A new insight into why the numbers are so low came from a joint publication by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer on separate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) surveys conducted by each manufacturer on their aircraft. Although the methodologies differed slightly, each detailed simulation confirmed that aircraft aircraft systems controlled the movement of particles in the cabin, limiting the spread of the virus.
"The risk of a passenger becoming infected with COVID-19 while on a plane appears to be very low. With only 44 identified potential cases of flight transfers associated with 1,2 billion passengers, this is one case in every 27 million passengers. Even if 90% of cases were not reported, it would be one case for every 2,7 million passengers. We find these figures extremely encouraging. Furthermore, the vast majority of reported cases occurred before the wearing of face masks was introducedSaid Dr. David Powell, IATA's medical advisor.
Airborne radiation systems, high-efficiency air particle filters (HEPA), a natural seat back barrier, downward airflow, and high air exchange rates effectively reduce the risk of disease transmission on board at normal times. The addition of wearing masks amid pandemic concerns adds an extra and significant extra layer of protection, making sitting close by in an aircraft cabin safer than most other enclosed environments, IATA points out.
Airlines have a layered approach to preventive measures
ICAO’s comprehensive guidelines for safe aircraft travel in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis rely on multiple layers of protection, which include airports as well as aircraft, Powell added.
The design features of the aircraft add a new protective layer that contributes to the low frequency of flight transfers, and it includes: Limited face-to-face interactions as passengers turn forward and move very little,
the effect of a seat back that acts as a physical barrier to air movement from one row to another, minimizing airflow backwards, with a segmental flow design directed generally down from ceiling to floor, a large amount of fresh air entering the cabin, etc.…
Otherwise, air in airplanes is exchanged 20-30 times per hour on most aircraft, which is very efficient compared to the average office space (average 2-3 times per hour) or schools (on average 10-15 times per hour). Also, use HEPA filters that have more than 99,9% efficiency of removing bacteria / viruses ensuring that the air supply entering the cabin is not a way for microbes to enter.
What is certain is that air traffic will soon stabilize globally because there is a synergy of all airlines as well as airports, and it is IATA that coordinates all activities as well as the standardization of all protocols, which is crucial. We know that air transport is key to launching tourism globally, and that is why these efforts are extremely important.
I wrote earlier how they are for air traffic activation three key prerequisites, and as things stand now, everything is going in that direction to meet all three in a couple of months. Read more about it in the attachment.
Cover photo: Maria Tyutina, Pexels.com