Right now, it’s officially illegal in the UK to go on holiday abroad – a fact we would have considered unfathomable just a year ago.
But holiday bookings have surged over the past week since the Government announced its official plan for getting us out of lockdown and back to normal, including the potential resumption of international travel by May 17.
Of course, air travel hasn’t been completely suspended during lockdown. Trickles of passengers have still been making their way through our airports for essential journeys related to work and late last summer when the first lockdown was eased, thousands of people took the opportunity to cram in a few precious days in the sun before the winter surge began.
This small-scale air travel has given airports the opportunity to explore their options on hygiene – what works, what doesn’t, and what they’re going to need from their disinfectant systems as we head towards a new normal.
What are the key hygiene risks in air travel?
One of the biggest challenges facing air transport as we move out of this pandemic will be volume. Minimising contact with other people has been keep to limiting the global spread of coronavirus and in an airport or aeroplane setting, this is extremely difficult. Millions of people move through the world’s airports each day doing all the things that travellers do – eating, shopping, working, relaxing, using toilet facilities and even sleeping. This means that every person leaves a potentially vast trail of contamination behind them if they happen to be carrying a disease or virus.
There are lots of bottlenecks in airports where people come into close proximity due to queues – this might be standing in line to get a much-needed coffee, passing through airport security, or waiting to board at the gate. In all of these places, passengers come close to each other, and to airport personnel.
Then there’s the baggage people bring with them to the airport. Once they’ve checked in, the individual goes off to duty free or the departure gate while their baggage is checked in and handled by a whole other team of individuals on its journey to the hold. Here too, there’s potential for cross-contamination if the passenger or the baggage handler is unwittingly carrying pathogens on their hands, or in their mouth and nose.
Of course, airports are doing all they can to eliminate risk by introducing testing – and this has created another type of potentially risky, quasi-medical environment within the airport setting that needs to be kept scrupulously clean.
Finally, there’s the aircraft themselves. As with all public transport, aviation is a numbers game – today’s planes are designed to carry as many people as possible in a small space for economy and as such, are not designed for social distancing. Even with strict infection control measures and coronavirus testing in place, it’s vital that planes can be thoroughly sanitised as part of the existing turnover procedure before a new set of passengers is allowed to embark.
Hygiene systems for airport settings must be two things above all else.
The first of these is safe. Safety and security are paramount in air travel since even a minor incident such as a passenger feeling unwell on a flight can cause major disruption and delays to journeys. It goes without saying that flammable substances like alcohol are an absolute no-go in these settings due to the risk of fire, so it’s vital that formulations used to sanitise airports and aircraft do not expose passengers and staff to danger.
The second thing is convenient. Airlines rely on speed to make their operations economically viable so for every minute a plane is on the ground, they’re losing money. Moving people safely and efficiently through airports to gates, and getting aircraft cleaned, sanitised and refuelled ready to take off again after landing, it the absolute name of the game.
That’s why Ramsol is the perfect hygiene partner for the UK aviation industry as it seeks to get back in the skies again.
Ramsol is an effective antibacterial and virucidal disinfectant delivered via a pressurised, continuous spray system. Our canister is completely non-flammable and our formula is alcohol free, which means Ramsol is totally safe for these demanding environments, but doesn’t compromise on hygiene.
Validated to BS EN 1276, BS EN 14476 and BS EN 1650, Ramsol is proven effective against pathogens while also being safe for use in food preparation environments. It’s also compatible with both hard and soft surfaces, which means one product fits all when it comes to sanitising inside the terminal and on the aircraft itself.
Ramsol is 100% portable and requires no external power supply. This means it goes anywhere, indoors or outside, with no hassle and no trailing leads to trip over. Supplied with a wheeled trolley, it’s supremely easy to move around and ideal for decontaminating tricky spaces, including the compact seating arrangements of an aircraft cabin.
Finally, Ramsol minimises downtime thanks to its optimised 20-micron spray density. This fine spray does a superb job of covering all surfaces effectively, penetrating into those hard-to-reach areas for effective disinfection and peace of mind. Unlike other systems, however, the spray doesn’t hang around for hours – it falls out of suspension within seconds and fully dries in just 6 -10 minutes, which means there’s no lengthy exclusion time. Simply spray, leave for ten minutes, and you’re ready to go.
We believe Ramsol holds the key to getting air travel back to normal faster and more safely than other hygiene systems. If you work in facility management or IPC in this sector and would like to find out more, get in touch!