Archive for January, 2012

Mitigating Illness Transfer through Routine Aircraft Disinfection

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Aircraft Disinfection

Travel can facilitate the rapid transfer of communicable ailments. This can be particularly true for air travel. With millions of people having access to air travel on a global scale, it’s not hard to imagine how aircraft can be collection points for airborne and surface pathogens. And since passengers  have little choice when it comes to rubbing elbows with their seatmates on increasingly full flights, it’s no surprise that illnesses passed in close quarters are on the rise.

To combat this, it’s essential for airlines to strive to keep planes as sterile as possible. While the air supply in passenger cabins is highly clarified with advanced HEPA filters before being circulated, surfaces in aircraft can only be assured of being clean through routine disinfection programs that  eliminate or significantly reduce the number of potential pathogens which can cause common ailments. Areas where food is prepared, stored, and served; any surfaces commonly touched by passengers; and washroom facilities should all be disinfected with the approved chemicals of each airline.

An approved Transparent Surface Cleaner should be used on all frequently-touched surfaces throughout the aircraft. This solvent-free, no-drip formula allows it to be sprayed onto any surface without dripping into crevices or carpeting, eliminating excess waste. To prevent foodborne illness from spreading, proper procedure for cleaning galley surfaces includes a no-spray process where equipment is soaked in a mixture of water and disinfectant then air dried, allowing for maximum effectiveness of the disinfectant chemical.

Routine Aircraft Disinfection Program Guidelines

The following factors should be considered when designing a program for routine aircraft disinfection:

  • Programs for routine disinfection should take into account the type, size and minimum ground time of aircraft.
  • Examples of a routine aircraft disinfection schedule and the physical areas in which disinfection is applied should be included in all aircraft appearance training manuals.
  • Aircraft appearance teams should be prepared to adjust their routine cleaning schedule if a health risk is identified.
  • Information concerning aircraft disinfection should be available to any passenger upon request.
  • Preventative disinfection of certain targeted areas of the aircraft may be advised by the public health authorities if diseases of concern are prevalent at departure points.

Developing a routine aircraft disinfection program mitigates illness transfer through a disinfected fleet, ensuring that passengers enjoy their destination in good health and return for future germ-free flights.