Airline UV Disinfection

Why Disinfecting Airplanes is Important

Airplanes create a fantastic opportunity for people and their germs to visit new places around the world. For earlier generations, travel, especially intercontinentally, was rare. Oceans, mountain ranges and deserts acted as barriers in a usually grueling journey. In the 21st century, the modern commercial air travel infrastructure represents one of the most important challenges to “disease control”.

Never before could germs travel so fast. Best practices for operational efficiencies emphasize passenger turnover, which nearly eliminates any opportunity for an effective cleaning. The cafe in the airport terminal is bound by health and hygiene regulations, but the airline (preparing, serving, consuming, disposing food products) is not.

When passengers board the aircraft, few are aware of the contaminated cesspool they will occupy for the next several hours, and the germs they are likely to pick up to bring on their journey. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, airline UV disinfection has never been more important to the public than it is today.

Simulated Cough on an Airplane: Fate of Particles

Airlines Are Adapting to the Need to Disinfect Aircrafts Since the Onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic

When the CDC announced “Enhanced Passenger Health Screenings” for flights into the US from China, there was no protocol for treating the aircraft itself when symptom-showing arriving passengers were identified. Airlines scrambled. There was no industry standard, no best practices, no regulations, or emergency preparedness plan. Flights stopped.

The major industry players went into a frenzy. Major international airlines formed partnerships with chemical disinfectant manufacturers, airlines instituted arbitrary policy changes, CDC imposed mask-wearing mandates. Luckily Dimer UV, a small family-owned startup in California, had been developing solutions to easily address the problem of lingering germs on airplane passenger surfaces.

The GermFalcon was a safe, effective, easy to use airline UV disinfection device, in the footprint of a flight attendant’s catering trolley, and designed to fit any commercial aircraft cabin, fast. Engineers and executives at Fortune 100 and Dow Jones company, Honeywell recognized the GermFalcon’s greatness, elegance and timeliness.

When operations resumed, airlines deployed temporary methods to create what appeared to be a safer environment for passengers. We saw chemical disinfectants applied by people in hazmat suits using “electrostatic fogging” machines.

Many airlines deployed the Honeywell UV Treatment System (fka Dimer’s GermFalcon).

Honeywell + Dimer

Strategic Global Partnership

On May 31st, 2020, Dimer entered into an exclusive strategic partnership with Honeywell to bring germicidal UV light surface disinfection technology to airplanes around the world.

TIME Best Inventions of 2020

On November 19th, TIME revealed its annual list of Best Inventions, with Dimer’s GermFalcon honored in the Transportation category. Dimer’s GermFalcon, now rebranded as Honeywell’s UV Treatment System, is a revolutionary Ultraviolet (UVC) decontamination solution designed for airplanes and is capable of treating an entire cabin in under 10 minutes.

What is the Risk of Getting Coronavirus on a Plane?

Contracting an infection from an aircraft is very common. Germs are left behind by nearly every passenger, some can be harmful. Most aircrafts fly three or more trips per day, or three individual passengers in each seat per 24 hours. Coronavirus and influenza can survive five days or longer.

5 x 3 = 15 passengers’ germs surviving at any moment.

Aircraft air filtration and circulation systems work very well. The problem is only a fraction of the germs in the cabin end up reaching the air filtration system. Environmental contamination is a multipronged issue. It’s a combination of air, surface, and hand hygiene.

How Long Does it Take to Disinfect an Airplane?

Disinfecting an airplane with a traditional chemical disinfectant would be incredibly time consuming. For many years it was done a couple times per year, if ever.

Only as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have airlines started to disinfect aircraft interiors. As a group, the airlines remain unbound by any infection prevention standard, regulation or enforcement. Currently processes vary from carrier to carrier, including frequency, efficacy, and verification of treatment.

…Not to mention, chemical disinfectants are to be used only on hard, nonporous surfaces–applicable only to about 50% of the aircraft cabin.

Limiting the options only to chemical disinfectants makes the task incredibly challenging, if not impossible. Whether a chemical disinfectant is applied by spray, wet wipe or electrostatic fog, the compounds require at least 2 minutes visibly wet to achieve germicidal function, and often need to be reapplied multiple times to achieve the dwell time. Not to mention, chemical disinfectants are to be used only on hard, nonporous surfaces–approximately 50% of the aircraft cabin.

The Honeywell UV Treatment System disinfects a narrowbody aircraft (737, 320) in 10 minutes, including lavatories.

UV Disinfection is Becoming Revolutionary for Airlines, Thanks to the Honeywell UV Treatment System

Dimer’s partnership with Honeywell aims to change this. With the Honeywell UV Treatment System, airlines are able to utilize state-of-the-art UV technology to disinfect their aircrafts quicker and safer than ever before. In a world where virus and pathogen contamination is top of mind, the introduction of cutting-edge airline UV disinfection technology can allow passengers to travel with peace of mind.

Learn More About the Honeywell UV Treatment System