Why Airlines Need Face Masks and Other COVID-19 Equipment

Health and Security
Nick Cummins
min read
May 6, 2020

Just as the early 2000s introduced the aviation world to X-ray machines and safety concerns, the coronavirus in 2020 has put airlines on notice to review health security and accept the new reality of airborne viruses. No more can airlines be worried about passenger comfort; they now must be vigilant in protecting the health and wellbeing of their wards. Thanks to the coronavirus, we now have a hidden terror lurking beyond our sight that can find its way onboard our aircraft and infect young and old. This is a new reality and will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. But that doomsday scenario doesn't have to happen if airlines take several steps and additionally obtain essential health security equipment. Eways Aviation is here to provide guides, equipment, and confidence that airline operators will be able to protect and serve their passengers in 2020.

Social Distancing

Airlines have to ensure that passengers and crew members have enough room onboard, around six feet (or 1.5 meters), to maintain social distance. In Australia, it has been proven that social distancing helped reduce the spread of the virus significantly, with both flag carriers Qantas and Virgin Australia operating the protocol. It is not without cost. Many airframes will have to depart with room to spare, as middle seats are left empty to give passengers enough space. Carriers should additionally block out every second row as well to be cautious, especially if there is a breakout in the region.

But others argue that this step may not be necessary. The jury is still out if social distancing is required onboard aircraft, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) claiming that thanks to the way air is regulated and cycled on aircraft (through HVAC filters), social distancing measures have an ineligible impact. More important is deep cleaning aircraft surfaces and, critically, using face masks.

Deep Cleaning Aircraft

The first step is to ensure that aircraft are deep cleaned with proper and qualified cleaners. The COVID-19 virus can last for days on surfaces, such as armrests, bathroom handles, and baggage bins. These need to be properly disinfected after each flight and preferably wiped down by qualified staff members.

Special attention should be given to the bathrooms, the bathroom handles, and the seatback headrests. As passengers make their way from the bathrooms, they may steady themselves by touching seats. Focusing on high traffic areas during a deep clean will remove a significant risk factor. You can use antibacterial gel (75% alcohol) to clean these surfaces, like the set available below from Eways Aviation.

Effective Face Masks

Passengers and cabin crew are required to wear masks during flights

Face masks have become the unsung hero in the coronavirus crisis. As the virus spreads through breathing and saliva droplets, face masks block these from leaving an infected passenger and may safeguard another from being infected. Crew members should be equipped with face masks and other personal protection (such as gloves) at all times, keeping them healthy, happy and continuing operations as usual. The carrier must provide its crew with a safe working environment. Airlines should not only have face masks onboard for crew members but available for passengers as well. Recently Delta and American Airlines in the United States made it mandatory for all passengers to be wearing facemasks onboard their aircraft, and we expect the trend to continue world-wide.

In fact, IATA recently came out in support of face coverings for passengers and masks for the crew while on board aircraft. They claim it is a critical part of a layered approach to biosecurity in the mission to eliminate the coronavirus.

“Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is low. And we will take measures—such as the wearing of face coverings by passengers and masks by crew—to add extra layers of protection. We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable. One without the other will have no lasting benefit”

said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Where can airlines get face masks?

Any airline should have these masks available for passengers to acquire, either included in their ticket or if you are in a region that is not currently heavily affected by the virus, available as an additional extra. With demand so high for these items (up to two months lead time for face masks from overwhelmed suppliers), Eways Aviation is happy to facilitate airlines with access to its private supply of face masks and other personal protection equipment. We have put together a comprehensive catalog of different materials for airlines of all shapes and sizes:

  • FDA approved surgical masks and N95 respirator masks.
  • Infra-red Digital Thermometers.
  • Antibacterial Disposal Gel (75% Alcohol).
  • Full bodysuit protective coveralls (including gloves and safety glasses).

Eways Aviation has a stock ready amd is ready to deploy for an airline's biosecurity needs. For more information, follow this link. https://lnkd.in/gzAJFcJ

Nick Cummins
Copywriter - Aviation Journalist
Journalist - Working in news media for over a decade with outlets including 9News and the Discovery Channel, Nick is an airline marketing specialist with a Masters level education. Working closely with AirAsia, Virgin Australia, Turkish Airlines and others, Nick provides unique insight and analysis on a variety of aviation topics. Based in Sydney, Australia.

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