How experts keep cabins fresh in flight
This is a special feature from PAX Tech's April Aircraft Interiors Expo Hamburg 2020 edition.
Global health emergencies
While the world battles the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the global airline industry is collecting itself from the economic blow of travelers staying put, while at the same time pivoting to find ways to reduce the spread of the sickness.
Some airlines suspended flights to China at the end of January and early February, such as Air France, British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Qatar Airways, and have yet to resume flights to the country. Other airlines organized special flights and scaled back inflight services.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency of international concern less than a month after the first case was reported. As of February 19, it reported 72,279 cases of the virus in China where 2,006 people have died, with 918 other cases across 25 countries and three deaths. The WHO stresses that proper hygiene can help reduce the spread of the virus: frequent hand washing with soap and water, hand sanitizing, covering mouth and nose with elbow or tissue when coughing and sneezing, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and keeping a social distance of at least three feet (one meter) from other people.
As the WHO claims data from China appears to be showing a decline in new cases, PAX Tech reached out to aircraft cabin hygiene solutions suppliers to learn how airlines limit the spread of contagious germs inflight.
Freshorize, a London-based hand soap, lotion, air freshener and interior aircraft cleaner supplier, has been sharing best practices with airlines whose top priority is to keep their crews and passengers safe.
Aziz Patel, Freshorize Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), tells PAX the company’s most popular product right now is its 3-in-1 hand soap, moisturizer and scent emitter. The 8.45 fluid ounce (250 milliliter) product cleans and moisturizes hands while the built-in micro-capillary scent emitter in the back releases a natural oil-based scent, available in eight fragrances or a custom fragrance formulation specific to the airline’s branding.
The company also offers the 8.45 fluid ounce (250 milliliter) Foam Hand Sanitizer that protects against germs. It has a micro-capillary scent emitter that releases natural oil-based scents while sanitizing. Patel says this antiseptic is “suitable for use in the healthcare industry” due to its strength and effectiveness.
“For more heavy-duty cleaning in the cabin, we offer our EPA registered Multipurpose Disinfectant Wipe that is shown to kill the coronavirus,” Patel says. The one-step disinfectant wipes are disposable for convenience and deliver biocidal action against bacteria, fungi and viruses.
“Research has shown that hand washing is one of the most effective lines of defense against viruses,” says Patel. “Proper hygiene is a key factor in decreasing the spread of viruses and as a supplier of soap and cleaners to the airline industry, we are here to meet all their needs.”
Maryland, US-based cleaning, maintenance and odor control solutions supplier Celeste Industries Corporation has seen an influx in requests for information about its Sani-Cide EX3 Disinfectant and Multi-Purpose Cleaner from its customers around the world, specifically in China. The EPA registered broad-spectrum disinfectant provides a safe way to disinfect a variety of surfaces throughout the aircraft while cleaning multi-soils. The results are a clean and streak- and haze-free surface.
“Airlines are looking for a disinfectant that is effective against the coronavirus and meets OEM requirements by being non-corrosive to aircraft components,” explains Carla Repko, Marketing Manager at Celeste. “We will be closely following the news on coronavirus as the situation develops. We want to ensure we can provide our customers with what they need to keep their passengers safe and limit the spread of the virus.”
Of course, hand sanitizers and heavy-duty disinfectants aren’t the only trending demands in cabin hygiene. For ultra-long haul flights, like those planned by Qantas Airways, Repko says there is huge demand for odor control. Biozyme EX3, Sani-Pak, Flight Fresh Deodorant Discs and JetScent® cabin spray can all be used to maintain a pleasant atmosphere for passengers on the aircraft, she says.
Celeste is also seeing a big push for “all-in-one” solutions to cabin cleaning. “Airlines want to simplify their cleaning tasks and limit the number of products they need to purchase and carry on board,” Repko explains, adding that this demand was the force behind the development of the aforementioned Sani-Cide EX3 multi-purpose cleaner and disinfectant. As well, airlines are concerned about the amount of moisture that potentially contacts cabin electronics during carpet cleaning and are looking for products that introduce less moisture and still perform well. Celeste is currently developing a product that will meet this need, Repko says.
Meanwhile, Freshorize created its XÉN Wellness line to help keep passengers comfortable on ultra-long flights. The aromatherapy-focused line is designed to harmonize and promote health and provide a sense of well-being.
The company also continues to see growth in scent branding. “Brands are really taken with the idea of developing a specialty scent that only they use,” says Patel, adding that the supplier has provided several airlines with a unique brand fragrance. “Research has shown that scent can be tied to memory, it can be highly emotive. Having a fragrance that triggers a positive, relaxing or refreshing emotion is a major factor in improving or maintaining high standards of passenger experience.”
Freshorize earned its Platinum Status with the Green Business Bureau in February 2020 for its sustainable offerings, including its refillable bottles that eliminate 6,000 plastic bottles per year and PET products. The company is currently testing a plant-based handwash.