Airline uses UV-C to disinfect plane cockpits

A workman in an aeroplane cockpit holds a blue light over the many buttons
The airline is using UV-C units to kill any viruses that may reside on sensitive switches and touch screen displays within the flight deck.

A MAJOR global airline is cleaning pilot flight decks with UV-C lighting.

United Airlines is deploying the handheld technology on most aircraft at its hub airports in a bid to disinfect the flight deck interior and provide pilots with a Covid19-secure work environment. 

The airline is using units from the American Ultraviolet company to kill any viruses that may reside on sensitive switches and touch screen displays within the flight deck.

United has tested a variety of uses for UV-C lighting as a disinfectant and consulted with the Cleveland Clinic to determine that the flight deck was the most effective use of the technology.

‘Safety is our highest priority and we continue to research, test and roll out new technologies to keep our aircraft and terminals safe for both customers and crew,’ said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations.

‘Flight decks have many working parts, screens and components that are challenging to clean with traditional hand wipes and liquids, especially for someone who isn’t a pilot. 

‘The UVC lighting gives us a faster, more effective disinfection of one of the most important areas of the aircraft.’

United currently uses electrostatic spraying to disinfect its aircraft cabins, one of the most effective techniques to clean around harder to reach surfaces, particularly overhead bins and spaces within tray tables. 

‘United implementing UV-C lighting in its flight decks is an important tactic because we know that the virus can be killed by ultraviolet light,’ said Dr. James Merlino, chief clinical transformation officer at Cleveland Clinic.

‘It’s one more measure that we can implement to ensure that we’re doing all we can to keep passengers, flight attendants and crews safer.’

Earlier this month London’s Heathrow Airport deployed a squad of robots packed with powerful UC-V lighting to disinfect its terminal buildings. 

The self-driving machines patrol the gates, toilets, waiting zones and other  areas when they are unoccupied and disinfect the rooms, handrails, handles and furniture using powerful UV-C light to kill bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms.

A robot is deployed in each of Heathrow’s five terminals. Each has a network of sensors to detect if human beings are nearby, in which case the UV-C lamps with switch off. 

The manufacturer, Danish firm UVD Robots, describes the technology as ‘a new and powerful weapon against the spread of the coronavirus’.