Stakeholders from the Independent Aircraft Modifier Alliance (IAMA) are working to come up with modification solutions for airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a “Virtual Think Tank” held by IAMA this week, Euro-Composites, Fokker Services and Lufthansa Technik presented a variety of simple, easy to install solutions related to cabin hygiene and passenger-to-cargo needs that have become crucial during the novel coronavirus.
Portable Head Rest Dividers
Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has developed a lightweight head rest divider than can be installed in the magazine compartment on Airbus A320 family aircraft. According to LHT, the semi-permanent installation requires no seat modification or assembly of additional components and can be installed easily during an overnight check. Since the divider blocks where an aircraft safety card would go, the dividers allow customization options such as branding or stickers. LHT says the dividers can be cleaned using soap and water or isopropanol. The MRO is targeting EASA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for installations beginning mid-August or mid-September.
Portable UV-C Disinfection Light
With regulatory authorities starting to mandate more frequent lavatory cleaning rules, LHT has developed a disinfection solution using a portable UV-C light. The product features a Diehl UV light tube that is already certified and used in Airbus A350 water tanks. The light can either be installed as a “plug and play” option or offered as a wireless unit with battery packs. LHT says it can fully disinfect a lavatory within 44 seconds, regardless of aircraft type or lavatory manufacturer. According to LHT, the product is easy to use, requires a low cleaning effort and improves crew safety. LHT says the design document will be an engineering bulletin, which it aims to have ready within two months.
Biocide Surface Treatment
LHT is looking to offer a biocide surface treatment called TiTANO from bio-chemical company Hecosol for aircraft cabin surfaces such as bins, tray tables, arm rests and side walls. TiTANO is already used in shopping centers, hospitals and the food industry, and LHT says it has performed testing to make sure it is safe for use on six different cabin materials. The biocide would be applied via electro spray method to ensure fast, reliable coating of large surfaces in a short time frame without the formation of aerosols or smells. According to LHT, TiTANO stays active for over a year and reduces the survival rate of SARS-CoV-2—the virus causing COVID-19—by 90%. LHT is aiming to have an engineering bulletin for the treatment available within two months.
Partition Shelf for Hygiene Items
Euro-Composites has created a partition shelf for seating class dividers and aircraft boarding areas where airlines can temporarily place hygiene items such as face masks or hand sanitizer. The temporary shelves can be available for passengers during boarding and stowed away during take-off/landing. According to Euro-Composites, the solution can be customized for existing partitions and designed according to customer needs from honeycomb core it manufactures in-house.
Hygiene Item Box for Overhead Bin
Another solution for storage of hygiene items is Euro-Composites’ hygiene item box for overhead bins. Made of lightweight composite material, the boxes can be customized to fit a customer’s overhead bins where they can be used to store hygiene items such as sanitizer, masks, tissues and gloves. The box can be installed in the overhead bin using a clip system or Velcro strips and Euro-Composites says it is easy to install and remove because it is “more or less some kind of luggage.”
Minor Change Dispenser Duo/Trio
Initially created for Euro-Composites customer Lufthansa Cityline, this modification entails changing a lavatory’s permanent, built-in soap dispenser to a disposable dispenser that is either screwed into sockets or attached via adhesive. The solution has now been modified to include additional dispensers for hand sanitizer and lotion, as well as customized lettering. Euro-Composites says it has put together the necessary paperwork and parts to perform the minor change on all kinds of lavatories.
Fokker Passenger-to-Cargo Conversion
Fokker Services has developed a reversible passenger-to-cargo conversion, which entails removal of passenger seats and securely stowing cargo to pallets mounted in the floor. The solution follows EASA guidelines for transport of cargo in the passenger compartment and Fokker Services says it has a service bulletin in place for Fokker 50/70/100 aircraft enabling up to six tons of payload. The MRO says it will develop STCs for other single and twin-aisle aircraft based on customer demand.
The current service bulletin is based on the EASA exemption enabling operators to fly with this particular configuration for eight months, so Fokker Services intends to follow it up with a service bulletin allowing carriers to fly with the solution for a longer time period. It is also looking into passenger/cargo combi solutions, although it says these configurations will take longer due to stricter rules.
A look at some simply-installed modifications for cabin hygiene and passenger-to-cargo conversions from IAMA stakeholders.
Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for AviationWeek.com, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.