As we gradually resume our way of living and working under the Recovery Movement Control Order, we are also mindful of the need to keep performing the new hygiene practices. Eventually, as more restrictions are lifted, and borders open, travel in all forms will resume. In preparation for this eventuality, aircraft maker Airbus has shared some details of its advanced air filtration system in the cabin.
According to Airbus, the aircraft cabin is already one of the safest environments in the transport system. Cabin air is fully renewed about every two to three minutes and circulated. Air inlets are located at floor level, while the outlets are near overhead bins. The air travels downwards from the outlets at a rate of about one meter per second, and exits via the floor vents. As the air moves within this system, it goes through hospital-grade HEPA filters which can capture about 99.95% of particles from the cabin air, including pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
In flight, the cabin also gets a mixture of outside air which helps to add some fresh air into the cabin. Some of the cabin air will be expelled to make way for fresh air from outside. The high altitude air from outside is also filtered for VOC (volatile organic compounds), microbes and ozone before it is combined in the mixing unit. Additionally, the air in the aircraft cabin has minimal air flow from left to right or front to back within the cabin, to reduce risk of cross contamination.
Such filtration systems are already present in passenger cars, such as Proton which had recently announced the use of N95 filters in the X70. Going forward, we could see more widespread use of more comprehensive filtration solutions in all forms of transportation, particularly in the public or mass transportation systems.
Regardless of how effective advanced filtration systems are, one also needs to continue to be vigilant in carrying out proper safety and hygiene practices.
This is the link to Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering, Jean-Brice Dumont answering questions on cabin air flow: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=582384906021127&ref=watch_permalink
Video of Airbus’ cabin air filtration: