Cleaning the insides of commercial airplanes has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines rely on quick turnaround of planes to keep all their flights on schedule, but extra cleaning that is necessary during the pandemic slows everything down.
“A carrier that managed eight daily rotations on a given route before the pandemic can now do only six because of time-consuming disinfection procedures,” said Quentin Munier, head of strategy and innovation at the seat division of aircraft-parts company Safran SA.
To protect airplane passengers and preserve airline schedules, officials in the air transportation industry have begun calling for fabrics with virus-killing properties to use for airplane seats, Bloomberg reports. In response, Safran is conducting tests with hospital researchers on the efficacy of fabrics with germ-repelling biocides integrated into them during the manufacturing process. The company is also looking into the use of disinfectant sprays that can be applied to existing seats that will protect against pathogens between six months and a year.
Currently, industry standards recommend that airline seats, as well as seat belts and buckles, be cleaned and disinfected between flights. The standards advise that aircraft cleaners use a vacuum to remove loose particles from fabric seat covers, and wipe and dry those made of leather-like coverings. It also advises that visible stains be removed from fabric seats, or that the fabric be replaced.