Carriers and aircraft manufacturers worry that the fear of virus propagation may prevent travel eagerness from growing back to profitable levels.
Industry players can therefore be expected to do everything they can to boost passenger confidence.
In fact, action taken by civil aviation authorities, such as EASA’s passenger management guidelines, already sets high prevention standards. EASA’s health safety protocol notably deals with thermal screening at the airport and the use of facial masks. Add the existing air conditioning systems onboard, which include hospital-type filters, and passenger health can arguably be seen as taken care of.
Nevertheless, a carrier may want to show passengers it is going the extra mile to protect them.
Safran suggests seats could be fitted with transparent partition walls. Each “Ringfence” wall would leave half an armrest to each passenger, says Quentin Munier, Safran Seats’ EVP for strategy and innovation.
A lighter design, removable partitions could be installed by passengers at head level. They could be made of single-use, flexible textile. Also single-use could be removable seat covers. To avoid multiple hand contacts with a single item, pedals could control seat recline and tray table position.
Where anti-microbial materials would be used, such as armrests and tray tables, QR codes would enable the passenger to gather information on the surface’s hygienic properties, Munier says.
“These are ideas, not products. We have studied feasibility and, depending on customer feedback, we will prioritize developments,” he says.
Acro Aircraft Seating正在探索与Addmaster的合作，后者是各种材料添加剂的供应商。其理念是将已经为伦敦公共交通服务五年的Biomaster抗微生物技术整合到飞机座椅扶手等部件中。
Acro Aircraft Seating is exploring a collaboration with Addmaster, a supplier of additives for various materials. The idea is to incorporate the Biomaster anti-microbial technology, which has been in service in London’s public transportation for five years, into aircraft seat parts such as armrests.
“Biomaster is proven to inhibit the growth of microbes by up to 99.99% and it has been proven to be highly effective against viruses on porous surfaces such as textiles and paper. When microbes land on an untreated textile or surface, they multiply. When they land on the surface of an antimicrobial protected fabric or plastic, the silver ions trapped in the surface prevent microbial growth ... and bacteria eventually die,” explains Al Roots, Acro’s head of industrial design.
Silver-ion technology can already be found on Tapis Corporation’s Promessa synthetic leather, which Acro uses for some of its products.
Biomaster can be added at any stage of production. “It best performs if added at the raw material stage, it will last the life of the product,” says Roots. If sprayed on a textile, it can undergo up to 80 cool washes.
Biomaster should be seen as a complement for regular cleaning, Roots emphasizes.
Tests have yet to be conducted in two domains–the retention of the materials’ physical properties and the effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus.
First, the material has to keep its characteristics in flammability and resistance to cleaning agents, for instance, otherwise recertification would be required.
The effectiveness question is more challenging. “There is no commercially available method by which it could be tested,” Roots says. But microbiology studies are encouraging, suggesting that tests conducted against Norovirus and Feline Coronavirus will be valid for the Covid-19 virus.
The industry ought to standardize such trials, notes Safran’s Munier.
Another challenge is describing the product, which can be characterized as “anti-microbial,” as it acts against bacteria and mold. However, U.S. regulation will not allow to call it “anti-viral,” Roots says.
Light could help cabin hygiene, too. Aveo Engineering, a specialist in LED lighting, is promoting the use of visible violet and ultraviolet (UV) light for disinfection purposes.
“The 405 nanometer light is the disinfecting component of the sun light. A violet light can be run all the time and be masked by normal white light. We use these lights for galley and lavatory lights to keep those areas clean,” says Georg Hartl, Aveo’s quality and certification administrator.
Then, UV-C light (at 275 nanometer of wavelength) is for intense disinfection but humans need to be protected. It can be used for disinfection between flights.
Simulation specialist Ansys points out that UV-C disinfection works only under the “line of sight” principle. This means a surface, to be disinfected, must not be masked from the light source.
These technologies will come on top of high-performance ventilation systems.
据空客公司工程部执行副总裁Jean Brice Dumont介绍，乘客呼吸的空气均匀地由飞机外部的新鲜空气和循环空气组成。循环空气流经所谓的高效微粒空气（HEPA）过滤器，而HEPA过滤器通常用于医疗环境。Dumont说：“它们至少能阻止99.9%的病毒和其他微生物。”
The air a passenger breathes is evenly composed of fresh air from outside the aircraft and recirculated air, according to Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus’ EVP for engineering. Recirculated air flows through so-called high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are otherwise used in medical environments. “They block at least 99.9% of viruses and other microbes,” Dumont says.
The air flows from top vents and is sucked at floor level. Every row has its own vents. The fact the air flows vertically, as opposed to horizontally, limits the probability of virus dissemination.
“If you sneeze, droplets will be sucked away and in one minute, there will be nothing left around you,” Dumont says.
A computational fluid dynamics model by Ansys takes the example of a passenger wearing a mask and sneezing. It shows that few droplets make it through the mask and they hardly come close to any other passenger.
这条消息是Thierry Dubois在Aviation Daily发表的文章。《Aviation Daily》为关注商业航空的高管提供真知灼见。每天获取航空公司和机场策略、主要航空公司的数据快照、票价数据以及国际覆盖率。点击此处查看有关Aviation Daily更多消息。