This special-edition issue by Skies Magazine highlights what the Covid-19 pandemic has been like for pilots, operations personnel and even passengers with a collection of human interest and first-person stories.
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Boeing recently appointed Mike Delaney to lead the company’s Confident Travel Initiative, effective immediately. Working across the industry, Delaney’s team will work to develop new solutions to help minimize air travel health risks amid the COVID-19 pandemic and drive awareness of health safeguards already in place. Delaney brings 31 years of Boeing experience to the role, including previous executive leadership positions in airplane development and engineering, and currently serves as vice-president of Digital Transformation at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“As air travel slowly begins to resume and restrictions ease around the globe, health and safety remain our top priorities for our teams who design, build and service the airplanes and all those who fly on them,” said Boeing president and CEO David Calhoun. “Mike’s deep technical expertise, leadership skills, industry knowledge and great passion for our customers make him uniquely qualified to lead this effort.”
The Confident Travel Initiative team will work with airlines, global regulators, industry stakeholders, flying passengers, infectious disease experts and behavioural specialists to establish industry-recognized safety recommendations. The team is also advising operators on existing, approved disinfectants that are compatible with the airplane flight decks and cabins and testing other sanitizers.
“Our commitment to ensuring the health of airline passengers and crews is unwavering,” said Delaney. “We’re working with partners to enhance aircraft cleanliness procedures and identify other areas to further reduce the risk of airborne illness transmission.”
Boeing’s effort will build on the industry’s enhanced safety approaches — including enhanced cleaning, temperature checks and the use of face coverings — and promote the proven systems already in place to help maintain cabin cleanliness. One such system is the air filtration system present on all Boeing airplanes. The air filtration system incorporates High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters similar to those used in hospitals and industrial clean rooms. HEPA filters are 99.9-plus per cent effective at removing particulates such as viruses, bacteria and fungi before air is recirculated back to the cabin.
Boeing continues to research and evaluate new technologies to enhance safety, including ultraviolet light disinfecting systems and antimicrobial coatings for high-touch surfaces. The company is working with academics, health experts and learning institutions worldwide to field studies and facilitate research on reducing the potential of disease transmission on airplanes.
“Air travel is coming back,” said Delaney. “As that happens, we want passengers and crews to board Boeing airplanes without hesitation.”