Expert Advice on Flying During COVID-19
Feeling unsure about air travel these days? We know it’s an uncertain time but we would like to reassure you that flying remains one of the safest modes of transport amid COVID-19. While you’ve likely already heard about the precautionary measures AirAsia is taking to keep flying safe for you, we thought you might want to hear more about what global health and aviation experts are saying.
World Health Organization (WHO)
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The leading authority on global health issues has stated the following:
- Research has shown that there is little risk of a communicable disease being transmitted onboard an aircraft.
- The quality of aircraft cabin air is carefully controlled. Ventilation provides a total change of air 20–30 times per hour, that’s every 2 to 3 minutes. Most modern aircraft have recirculation systems, which recycle up to 50% of cabin air. The recirculated air is then passed through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters of the type used in hospital operating theatres and intensive care units, which trap dust particles, bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
- To minimize the risk of passing on infections, travelers who are unwell, particularly if they have a fever, should delay their journey until they have recovered. Individuals with a known active communicable disease should not travel by air. Airlines may deny boarding to passengers who appear to be infected with a communicable disease.
Source: WHO Air travel advice
AirAsia’s fleet consists exclusively of Airbus aircraft. The manufacturer has outlined key elements of the aircraft design which ensure their safety during COVID-19.
- Clean air has always been a priority in Airbus’ cabin design. Airbus aircraft are designed in compliance with all Airworthiness Regulations to provide the highest level of cabin air quality. The air in Airbus aircraft cabins is a mix of fresh air drawn from outside, and recirculated air that has been passed through extremely efficient filters, which remove particles in the air down to the size of microscopic bacteria and virus clusters.
- These filters – called High-Efficiency-Particulate Air (HEPA) – provide air that meets the standards set for hospital operating theatres. HEPA filters used in Airbus aircraft remove more than 99.9% of micro/nanoparticulate, viruses, and bacteria.
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
A trade association of the world’s airlines, IATA asserts that the universal implementation of global standards has made aviation safe. Their position on containment measures reflects those of ICAO.
IATA highlights that the risk of Covid-19 transmission onboard is low, due to the following aircraft cabin features:
- Limited face-to-face interaction among passengers, as their seats face forward
- Seat backs act as a solid barrier
- High airflow rate from ceiling to floor reduces transmission forward or back
- HEPA filters clean cabin air to hospital operating theatre quality, as the cabin air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes
Find out more in this IATA video.
European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Together with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
Europe’s guiding body on aviation safety, EASA, together with ECDC has released guidelines which include:
- To observe physical distancing at all times where practicable,
- To wear a medical face mask throughout the journey to protect others
- To practice scrupulous and frequent hand hygiene throughout the journey
- Reassurance is given that filters air on airplanes is safer and cleaner than many of us breathe on the ground
- Passengers themselves are expected to take personal responsibility.
Click here to find out more.
EASA has also published two studies on cabin air quality and found that “the cabin/cockpit air quality is similar or better than what is observed in normal indoor environments”, such as offices, schools, kindergarten, or residences.
Click here to find out more about the studies.
A Final Comment from AirAsia
AirAsia is working closely with regulators, local governments, civil aviation, and health authorities to ensure we follow their recommendations.
If you would like to know more about what we are doing to ensure your safety while flying, please click here.