Aircraft Module - Disinfection – Passenger Cabin


Provide a safe, sanitary operating environment for passengers, crew and ground staff.

Considerations ​

  • The cabin should be cleaned and then disinfected at an appropriate frequency to accommodate safe operations for the passengers and crew. The frequency should account for the operation of the aircraft and the potential exposure of the cabin to an infected person.
  •  Disinfection methods should be adopted in consultation with the aircraft manufacturer and based on an appropriate safety risk assessment. Any advice from WHO should also be taken into account. The risk assessment should be informed by recommendations from airframe manufacturers and reference instructions from appropriate health organizations on application to be effective against viruses. 
  • Aircraft manufacturers recommend:

    • the use of a 70% aqueous solution of Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) as a disinfectant for cabin high-touch surfaces with specific care to be taken for application on leather and other porous surfaces;
    • periodic equipment inspection to detect long-term effects or damage given the lack of data on the long term effects of much more frequent application of disinfectants; and to contacting them for guidance on alternate disinfectants should damage be observed;
    • following their instructions for ensuring proper application, ventilation and use of personal protection equipment;
    • considering enhanced inspection intervals or maintenance when employing aggressive or new disinfection techniques.
    • consulting them for more detailed recommendations or additional disinfecting chemicals noting the discrepancy in approvals for disinfection products in different States and in their availability.
  • Surfaces should be cleaned of dirt and debris before disinfecting to maximize effectiveness.
  • Application to surfaces should be with pre-moistened wipes or singe use wetted cloth and use limited bottle sizes on board to minimize the risk of spilling the IPA solution. Do not spray IPA in the cabin. Do not allow the liquid to pool or drip into equipment (e.g., in-flight entertainment electronic boxes). 
  • IPA is flammable, so precautions should be taken around potential sources of ignition.
  • The operator should consider whether increased cleaning and disinfection may affect compliance with any applicable disinsection requirements established in accordance with ICAO Annex 9. Additional information can be obtained from the appropriate authority and technical guidance is available on the WHO publication on aircraft disinsection methods and procedures.
  • UV irradiation does not replace normal manual cleaning procedures, but could be used to supplement existing disinfection procedures. Where used, several important factors should be considered, including that UV disinfection is only effective if the virus is exposed to the UV light. Materials that are exposed to UV light may be damaged or discoloured. The Airframe OEM should be consulted to ensure that the device intended for use is compatible with aircraft materials.  
  •  Airlines may wish to review their operating procedures to minimize the number of personnel who need to contact high-touch surfaces such as access panels, door handles, switches, etc. For more detailed recommendations or additional disinfecting chemicals, reach out to the specific airframe manufacturer. 

Means for uniform implementation

  • OEM communication through ICCAIA and OEM communication with airlines.
  • Use the Aircraft COVID-19 Disinfection Control Sheet (PHC Form 2) or a similar one when appropriate.
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