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Boeing Joins COVID-19 Fight Through Confident Travel Initiative

Boeing Joins COVID-19 Fight Through Confident Travel Initiative
Joe Cortez

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing will join with the airlines to try and lure passengers back on commercial aircraft. Working with stakeholders, the Chicago-based company is creating a “Confident Travel Initiative” to brainstorm best ways to keep flyers safe.

Can Boeing help airlines win back passengers through a health and cleanliness program? The Chicago-based manufacturer is launching their “Confident Travel Initiative,” with the goal of helping airlines and flyers travel safer and reduce the risk of contracting the novel Coronavirus.

A Multi-Tiered Plan to Reduce Illness on Aircraft

The Confident Travel Initiative plan is lead by the company’s vice president of digital transformation, Michael Delaney. In an open post on LinkedIn, the executive notes the experience started when his own family needed to travel in early April 2020, and what they did to keep safe.

“I have intimate knowledge of our airplane infrastructure and filtration system,” Delaney writes in his post. “I know that the air conditioning system is capable of providing an exchange of air every 2 to 3 minutes; I know that air goes through high-performance filters that trap nearly all virus and bacteria particles; and I know cabin air flows primarily ceiling to floor to help minimize particles spreading throughout the cabin. Still, the emotional aspect of air travel was there. Sitting close to other people during a pandemic made for an unpredictable situation.”

The initiative is based on a multi-layer approach to preventing COVID-19 from boarding airplanes, starting with passengers. Their confidence plan calls for all passengers to wear a face covering, and not travel if they may be sick. From there, Boeing is working “With guidance from international health agencies” to determine the best ways to clean aircraft cabins. The airline is also working to make sure aircraft cabins are constantly circulating air from ceiling to floor, and refreshing it every two to three minutes.

“We’re testing new technologies for cabin cleanliness as we look to continuously improve our approaches,” Delaney writes on LinkedIn. “We are leading modeling efforts to confirm or give new insights on how a virus might “behave” on an airplane. We approach this like we would any other potential threat to travel – with thorough testing that results in data-based decisions.”

Although Delaney and Boeing agree that its impossible to remove all threats from flying, the company hopes that their guidance can help travelers and airlines make smarter moves when it comes to flying. Some of the projects they are supporting includes health screening programs and cabin cleaning routines.

“You might see temperature screening checks at airports. We continue providing guidance to our airline customers on the most effective and safest onboard cleaning procedures and sanitizing chemicals to use,” Delaney writes. “We’re testing new technologies for cabin cleanliness as we look to continuously improve our approaches. We are leading modeling efforts to confirm or give new insights on how a virus might “behave” on an airplane.”

However, the new initiative inside Boeing falls short of mandating mandatory face mask usage. Boeing defers to airlines on health programs including face covering usage and blocking middle seats.

Initiative Launches as Boeing Enters 737 MAX Re-Certification Process

The launch of Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative comes as the airline is facing increased scrutiny around their 737 MAX program. The carrier ended the test flight phase with the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, with a long way to go before it can be certified to fly again. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General released a timeline report on the original 737 MAX launch and grounding, citing several failures in the launch at both Boeing and the FAA.

View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. macssam

    July 7, 2020 at 5:37 am

    MSM is the real plague

  2. squiddy

    July 7, 2020 at 5:53 am

    This is overdue, tbh. Most people I know, including myself, have gotten sick after air travel – whether from aircraft, airports, or the hotels I’ve stayed it – not always clear – but when someone the next row up is coughing, blowing their nose, and sweating on a 5 hour flight, and 3 days later, you get sick with the flu, it’s not hard to connect the dots. I know many people who avoid flying in the wintertime because they’ve gotten sick too many times.

    Newer aircraft have much better ventilation systems than older aircraft, but Boeing should investigate adding a UV-C stage. Similarly, investigate far-UV or UV-C for additional sanitation (for example, a UV-C light cycle in the restrooms while locked-out/empty.)

  3. MichaelJMcFadden

    July 7, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Was my comment too long? Here’s a shorter version:
    ==
    I’m not particularly surprised: I warned about it in my 2003 “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains,” p.117:

    “Without the marker of tobacco smoke, the customer cannot easily determine whether a healthy level of fresh air is being circulated ,,,air quality in restaurants and airplanes may well have gone down since smoking bans appeared (See: Consumer Reports 08/94 … fresh air at high altitudes costs money… and without smoke … The increased health risks of epidemic diseases spreading in the confined and now heavily recirculated air of our planes will never be apparent until a disaster occurs… and by then it will be too late. The worldwide spread of an airborne infectious disease may someday be laid at the doorstep of the Great American Antismoking Crusade. An airborne Ebola, antibiotic-resistant pneumonia, or bio-terror horror could be the final legacy of those trying to save us from ourselves.”

    At least with hotels some still allow smoking and have ventilation cranked up to handle it along with COVID viruses for the comfort of nonsmoking patrons. In smoke-banned venues you never have any idea at all what you’re breathing in.

  4. Jackie_414

    July 7, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Completely sterilizing the atmosphere we breathe will make us immune to nothing.

  5. OMSHH

    July 9, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    The irony or reading how Boeing is doing anything that is remotely related to flyer safety and/or anything that involves having any confidence is a product or a service.

    Best thing Boeing can do to help with COVID-19 is to stay out of the whole entire process! Instead, they should concentrate on fixing their own problems first.

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