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Home / News / COVID-19 / Top Airbus engineer says cabin air refreshes every 2-3 minutes

Top Airbus engineer says cabin air refreshes every 2-3 minutes

Advises on reducing airport and aircraft virus exposure

TORONTO, ON., June 12, 2020 — According to Airbus’ Executive Vice President, Engineering, Jean-Brice Dumont it is not the aircraft’s circulation system that exposes people to germs when travelling by air. In an interview on Twitter, Dumont explains in detail how the Airbus cabin air filtering and circulation system works.

“An aircraft flies in a very hostile environment. It flies at high altitude and that means very cold air, minus 50 degrees Celsius, and low oxygen,” Dumont said. “We must assure that the air has the right pressure, temperature, humidity and is clean enough to protect the passengers’ health and safety, and to ensure comfort.”

https://twitter.com/Airbus/status/1266353888841482240

The cabin air is made of two parts. Half is fresh air from outside and the other half is recycled using efficient hospital-grade High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.

“HEPA filters are very efficient and block virus particles, such as for COVID or more generally, cleaning the air to at least 99.9 per cent. The cabins are designed with health in mind and we have been using this technology for decades to protect against many viruses.” 

HEPA filters are very efficient and block virus particles, such as for COVID or more generally, cleaning the air to at least 99.9 per cent. The cabins are designed with health in mind and we have been using this technology for decades to protect against many viruses.

The air is renewed about 20-30 times per hour. What you don’t see is that there are tubes around the whole aircraft that flow air vertically downward instead of horizontally. The ventilation system circulates air about one metre per second. It’s also circulated at the ground level toward vents that feed the air to the filter or outside.

Airbus’ Executive Vice President, Engineering, Jean-Brice Dumont says the air circulates vertically downward at 1 metre per second and it is also circulated at the ground level toward vents in each row.

The technology discussed in Airbus’ Twitter Live presentation is featured on board all of Air Canada’s Airbus fleet, including the A220, A319, A320, A321, and A330, and the Boeing 777 and 787 fleet that Air Canada operates also features HEPA filters.  All HEPA specialized systems capture 99.9% of airborne particles, and continually refreshes cabin air multiple times each hour.

The International Air Transport Association also recently commented on virus transmission.

“The safety of passengers and crew is paramount. The aviation industry is working with governments to re-start flying when this can be done safely. Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low. And we will take measures—such as the wearing of face coverings by passengers and masks by crew—to add extra layers of protection. We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable. One without the other will have no lasting benefit,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The cabin environment naturally makes transmission of viruses difficult for a variety of reasons. That helps explain why we have seen little evidence of onboard transmission. In the immediate term, our aim is to make the cabin environment even safer with effective measures so that passengers and crew can return to travel with confidence,” said de Juniac.

Clean air and personal safety are important elements of Air Canada CleanCare+ program, the company’s industry leading, comprehensive health and safety program committed to providing peace of mind during all stages of travel.

SOURCE Air Canada

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