18 October, 2020

Delta claims its aircraft are safer than hospital operating rooms.......

The U.S. mega-carrier Delta Air Lines is claiming its aircraft are safer than hospital operating rooms and homes, citing a recent study from the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to Delta, the says that because of the HEPA-filters fitted to most commercial aircraft, along with the downward ventilation system, there is a 99.7% reduction in the risk of coronavirus transmission through air onboard.

The tests were done on rival United's 777 and 767 aircraft  “The 767 and 777 both removed particulate 15 times faster than a home and five to six times faster than recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms,” according to the report. 

Delta’s focus on keeping the onboard air clean and safe is a key layer of protection Delta works to provide to its customers and employees. The air on Delta aircraft is completely refreshed 10 to 30 times per hour (every 2 to 6 minutes) with fresh outside air or air that has been recirculated through industrial-grade HEPA filters, which extract more than 99.99% of particles, including viruses. 

Apparently, Delta says it replaces its HEPA filters twice as often as recommended and is installing LEED Platinum MERV14 filters to provide cleaner air while aircraft are parked, which can result in a significant reduction in air particles and cleaner air in jetbridges.   However, some maintenance staff based at Atlanta have disputed that, saying there is a backlog in changing filters on the fleet.  

“In addition to continually innovating and setting the new standard of cleanliness, it’s also our job to share science-based facts and research with our customers to help them feel informed and comfortable when they return to the skies,”  said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer.  

Delta has implemented layers of protection from check-in to baggage claim to deliver a new standard of cleanliness, more space and safer service and care for customers and employees alike. Delta’s comprehensive list of more than 100 safety actions is collectively known as the Delta CareStandard – it includes sanitizing aircraft surfaces with electrostatic spray before every flight, blocking middle seats while capping aircraft capacity, enforcing mask-wearing requirements and changing aircraft HEPA filters twice as often as recommended – all to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"This is the best study of its kind,"  Jason Shaw, Air101's Editor said, "But that is because its the only one of its kind carried out this year.  And whilst it is great news for the commercial airline industry, these tests also shouldn't be seen as indicative of the experience of real passengers on a real flight. For example, these tests were ground base,  they contained no passengers,  thus there was no passenger movement, no luggage, blankets or other passenger detritus blocking the lower exit vents." commented Jason. "They also used aerosols and droplets of Sars Covid-2 rather than Covid-19 which might not mimic exactly the latest virus, equally, the aerosol droplets might also not replicate live virus droplets in human saliva and mucus because of density and weight.  Equally,  there were no tests in lavatories and the masks used were standard 3 layer surgical masks donated by United and not the cloth variety of masks, which are far more often used by real passengers."  The findings are positive for the airline industry and its good to know that the air in an aircraft cabin is relatively clear,  more 'real life' testing and studies would need to be carried out to bring any real validity to its findings Jason mused.  


Recommended for you...