The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the release of the results of testing by the United States Transportation Command (US Transcom) confirming the low risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard an aircraft.
The US Transcom testing, which was conducted in August, found that “the overall exposure risk from aerosolized pathogens, like coronavirus, is very low” on the types of airline aircraft typically contracted to move Department of Defense (DOD) personnel and their families, US Transcom stated.
More than 300 aerosol releases, simulating a passenger infected with COVID-19, were performed over eight days using United Airlines Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 twin aisle aircraft.
The US Transcom testing showed that the aerosol was “rapidly diluted by the high air exchange rates” of a typical aircraft cabin.
Aerosol particles remained detectable for a period of less than six minutes on average.
Both aircraft models tested removed particulate matter 15 times faster than a typical home ventilation system and 5-6 times faster “than the recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms.”
Testing was done with and without a mask for the simulated infected passenger.