Latest medical findings suggest that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is primarily transmitted by touch.
In response to the outbreak, Dubai-based Emirates has taken steps to clean and disinfect all cabins as a precaution.
“The airline uses an approved chemical that is proven to kill viruses and germs, leaves a long-lasting protective coating against new contamination of viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces, and is eco-friendly,” a statement from the airline said.
The Cleaning Process
The cleaning process includes a comprehensive wipe down of all surfaces – from windows, tray tables, seatback screens, armrests, seats, in-seat controls, panels, air vents and overhead lockers in the cabin, to lavatories, galleys and crew rest areas.
All of this is done in addition to other normal procedures such as changing head rest covers on all seats, replacement of reading materials, vacuuming, and more.
To complete this thorough cleaning process within an hour while the aircraft is preparing for its next mission requires a team of 18 trained cleaners on a Boeing 777, and a team of 36 for an A380.
In a 24-hour period on an average day, some 248 aircraft go through this process.
Emirates says if any aircraft is found to have transported a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, it would go even further, and implement deep cleaning and disinfection in a process that takes between six to eight hours to complete.
This includes the defogging of cabin interiors and misting with disinfectant across all soft furnishings, and replacement of seat covers and cushions in the affected area. The aircraft’s HEPA cabin air filters will also be replaced.
Monitoring and response protocols
Since January, the airline has activated its contingency response team to monitor daily developments on the COVID-19 outbreak, maintain contact with all relevant health and regulatory authorities, and ensure the airline’s response is current and appropriate.
“Emirates continues to work closely with all its partners and industry stakeholders, to ensure travellers can continue their journey with the assurance that their wellbeing and comfort remains at the forefront”, the statement said.