Proper precautions and high-quality filtration make air travel the safest mode of transportation.
The government of India has directed airlines to commence domestic flights from May 25, 2020, in a calibrated manner and the ministry will soon issue standard operation procedures (SOPs) for passenger movement.
This move will initiate the long-hauled travel sector and will aid essential travel for people of India who have been stuck without flights for almost two months now.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation should ensure that appropriate precautionary steps are strictly adhered to at the airports and during travel. Best of the efforts should be made to ensure that air travel does not aid the spread of COVID-19.
People should wear masks throughout and avoid travel even if they have slightest of health issues.
The central question that every traveller stills face is that “is air travel safe"?If we look at the technical aspect of the spread of the virus, the virus either spreads through contact or through aerosols.
Targeting the spread through contact, airlines will have to frequently sanitise the aircraft with special focus on all passenger touchpoints. This needs to be ensured not only inside the aircraft but also at the airports.
Targeting the spread through air, the air-cleaning systems installed in the aircraft are self-sufficient.
The air inside the aircraft is extremely clean mainly due to three reasons.
Firstly, every seat is washed in the downward direction at the rate of one meter per second. The airflow happens from the top and the air is sucked from the bottom of the floor. There is no airflow sideways.
Secondly, the air is recycled fully every two-three minutes. The air sucked at high altitude for circulation is cold, dry and uncontaminated and this air is recycled frequently.
And finally, the air is filtered through HEPA filters that have very high efficiency and filtration. The HEPA filters can filter almost 99.95 percent to 99.99 percent particles out, which shall filter the big size virus particles of COVID-19. These factors make the air inside the cabin extremely clean and safe.
Proper precautions and high-quality filtration make air travel the safest mode of transportation.Nishant Pitti is CEO, EaseMyTrip.com