By Andrew Atkinson
With commercial flights set to resume in June, the Spanish Airlines Association (ALA) reports that travelling by aeroplane is the safest form of public transport amid Covid-19 – citing atmospheric filtering.
All airports, ports and borders have been closed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown since mid-March, with airlines reporting flights are scheduled to return next month.
The ALA said aeroplanes use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter system in the cabin, eliminating 99.9% of bacteria and viral and fungal particles in the atmosphere.
The air on board an aeroplane is completely replaced – and renewed – within minutes: “Air in the cabin never stays still, it never becomes stagnant.
“It’s a mixture of air drawn in from outside the aeroplane, and air purified by the HEPA system,” said the ALA.
Altitude, from outside the aeroplane to supply on-board systems is virus-free. Air within the cabin flows upwards-downward: “It’s in permanent circulation, so particles the size of a Coronavirus are eliminated by the HEPA filters,” said the ALA.
“Air travel is the safest form of public transport, even in times of Covid-19,” they added.
HEPA filters on aeroplanes are also used in hospital operating theatres, preventing bacteria, fungus from causing infection to patients during surgery.
Ryanair, amongst airlines who travel to and from Spain including Alicante-Elche airport, will commence at 40% of flights, scheduled to start in June.
Restrictions have been eased in 70% of Spain, since Phase 0 in early May, part of a Phase 0-4 schedule, with lockdown measures on travelling lifted within the regional areas of the country.
Spain declared a state of emergency in mid-March and Foreign Minister Ms Gonzalez Laya said: “As soon as we have coronavirus under control we will be able to gradually open our country.”
Ms Gonzalez Laya also suggested green zones could be set up across the continent, potentially allowing travel between areas of limited infection.
Photograph above: Asociación de Líneas Aéreas (ALA).