Qatar Airways has become the first global carrier to operate Honeywell’s ultraviolet (UV) cabin cleaning technology in their aircraft. Meanwhile Helsinki Airport are using sniffer dogs to detect travellers infected with COVID-19 and say it is ‘close to 100% accurate’.
Qatar Airways Introduce UV Cabin Cleaning Technology
Clinical tests have shown that UV light can be capable of inactivating various viruses and bacteria when properly applied. The Honeywell UV Cabin System, which is operated by Qatar Aviation Services (QAS), has extendable UV arms that treat aircraft seats, surfaces and cabins without using chemicals.
Qatar Airways have already received six of the Honeywell UV Cabin Systems and have put the devices through comprehensive testing onboard their aircraft before entering service. The airline plans to acquire additional units in the near future, in order to operate them onboard all aircraft turnarounds at Hamad International Airport (HIA).
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are pleased to be the first global airline to operate the Honeywell UV Cabin System onboard our aircraft. In clinical tests, UV light has been shown to be capable of inactivating various viruses and bacteria when properly applied at specified doses.
“During these unprecedented times, the health and safety of our crew and passengers continues to be of the utmost importance. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been regularly introducing new and effective safety and hygiene measures onboard our aircraft, based on our unparalleled expertise of flying consistently throughout.”
Qatar Airways aircraft will continue to be regularly disinfected using cleaning products recommended by the International Airport Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The UV light will be utilised as an additional step after manual disinfection, to ensure the very highest standards of cleanliness.
Helsinki Airport Pilot COVID-19 Sniffer Dogs
Helsinki Airport have found a new and innovative way of detecting the COVID-19 virus in travellers by using man’s best friend. Researchers running the pilot scheme have said that the specially trained sniffer dogs are ‘close to 100% accuracy’ and that they can identify the virus in seconds.
Initially, four COVID-19 sniffer dogs have begun work at the Helsinki airport in the state-funded pilot scheme. Finnish researches hope that by introducing the operation it will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing for people with the Coronavirus.
It takes the dog just 10 seconds to detect the virus and the complete process takes less than a minute, according to Anna Hielm-Björkman of the University of Helsinki, who is overseeing the trial.
“It’s very promising,” said Hielm-Björkman. “If it works, it could prove a good screening method in other places, such as hospitals, care homes and at sporting and cultural events.”
International arriving passengers are asked to dab their skin with a wipe once they have collected their luggage. The dogs are waiting nearby in a booth where a container holding the wipe is then placed next to other controlled scents. The dog will start sniffing and if it identifies the virus it will indicate to the handler usually by yelping, pawing or lying down – the passenger is advised to take a free standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, using a nasal swab, to verify the dog’s verdict.
Scientists aren’t sure exactly what it is that the dogs sniff when they detect the virus, but a French study conducted in June concluded that there was “very high evidence” that the sweat odour of people with COVID-19 was different to that of those who did not have the virus, and that dogs could detect that difference.
We think these innovative methods the airline industry is adopting to encourage travellers back to the skies are a great way to build confidence. If you’re travelling soon and see something new introduced by an airline or airport to help combat the pandemic, why not let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it!