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Air travel is 'virus-safe': Spanish carriers explain how
14 May 2020 @ 15:36


SPAIN'S airlines association says travelling by plane is 'the safest form of public transport, even in times of Covid-19', due to its atmospheric filtering system.

In a bid to reassure a concerned public and prevent a mass boycott of aeroplanes - once travel conditions return to normal – due to fears of contagion, the Spanish Airlines Association (ALA) has explained how the air passengers breathe during flights is safer than almost anywhere on the ground.

Planes use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter system in the cabin, which eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viral and fungal particles in the atmosphere – and the air onboard is completely replaced and renewed every two to three minutes.

Those who come back from a holiday or trip abroad with a cold and say they must have caught it on the plane are almost certainly, therefore, mistaken – they are likely to have picked it up at their destination, or at the airport if they were among large crowds.

“Air in the cabin never stays still, it never becomes stagnant,” insists the ALA.

“It's a mixture of air drawn in from outside the plane, and air purified by the HEPA system.”

Given the altitude, air 'sucked in' from outside the aircraft to supply onboard systems is naturally virus-free, since no living organism lives that far up in the sky.

Additionally, the air inside the cabin flows up and down rather than backwards and forwards, meaning it is less likely to 'blow' viral particles between passengers.

“And it's in permanent circulation, so particles the size of a Coronavirus are eliminated by the HEPA filters,” explains the ALA.

“For this reason, air travel is the safest form of public transport, even in times of Covid-19.”

HEPA filters on aeroplanes are the same as those used in operating theatres to prevent bacteria, fungus and virii from causing infection to patients in surgery.

Some airlines in Spain are still operating, for national flights only.

Mostly, these are for key workers who use them to commute, and between the Canary Islands where residents of one island may need to travel to another for medical appointments or legal or administrative matters.

Ryanair has revealed it will shortly be operating 40% of its flights, although with borders shut, these are likely to be internal only.



Like 0


jamesjames said:
16 May 2020 @ 07:50

That is all very well as long as all the "paks" are switched on. They are not cheap to operate. Anyone who has visited the flight deck cockpit (especially on 747 aircraft) will immediately notice that when you enter, it is like walking out into fresh air compared to the air in the passenger cabin. That is because the pak serving the cockpit is always switched on, whereas not all packs serving the passenger cabins are. This has been done to save costs. On smaller, modern aircraft, I stand to be corrected.

RKL said:
16 May 2020 @ 09:54

Hmmmn... A very comforting article, but it is contrary to what I have previously read and been told by people in the industry.
I believed that when smoking was banned on flights the refreshed air from outside was switched off. I asked many times because on biannual flights to my Urb on the CdS I invariably arrived with a cold. I have driven down from Holland a few times and never arrived with a cold. I once flew with a face mask, years ago, long before this present crisis. Yes I arrived without a cold. Coincidences..?? Possibly.
But if saving companies money is involved, you can bet the consumer is the last to be considered.

jamesjames said:
16 May 2020 @ 10:04

RKL You are correct in what you say about when smoking was banned and probably everything else you said. I worked on those flying machines for 30 years.

RayC said:
16 May 2020 @ 11:16

I would add to the above comments & concerns:
Are the filters operating while the aircraft is being boarded and waiting to take off and taxiing after landing?
The filters can’t clean the surfaces handled by passengers while manoeuvring through the cabin particularly the seats
There should be a visual signal to reassure passengers that the filters are operating

RKL said:
16 May 2020 @ 15:19

Thinking deeper... I can quite believe what the ALA says that it is their policy.
However if each Airline and/or indeed each Aircraft is allowed discretion, then there is every reason to believe that not ALL Airlines and Aircraft comply with the policy of the ALA.

Feeg said:
16 May 2020 @ 20:00

RKL is bang on iro consumers being the last consideration. In the years I have been in Restaurants in Estepona in the heat of the summer, less than 1 in 20 have their aircon working. Even requests are met with "its not working" to "its too expensive"

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