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New research points to low risk for Covid-19 transmission inflight: IATA

ANI
·2-min read
The risk of contracting the virus on board appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning
The risk of contracting the virus on board appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning

Geneva [Switzerland], Oct 9 (ANI): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has demonstrated the low incidence of inflight Covid-19 transmission with an updated tally of published cases.

Since the start of 2020 there have been 44 cases of Covid-19 reported, in which transmission is thought to have been associated with a flight journey (inclusive of confirmed, probable and potential cases), it said. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled.

"The risk of a passenger contracting Covid-19 while onboard appears very low. With only 44 identified potential cases of flight-related transmission among 1.2 billion travelers, that is one case for every 27 million travellers," said Dr David Powell, IATA's Medical Advisor.

"We recognise that this may be an underestimate but even if 90 per cent of the cases were unreported, it would be one case for every 2.7 million travellers. We think these figures are extremely reassuring. Furthermore, the vast majority of published cases occurred before the wearing of face coverings inflight became widespread," he said.

New insight into why the numbers are so low has come from the joint publication by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer of separate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research conducted by each manufacturer in their aircraft.

While methodologies differed slightly, each detailed simulation confirmed that aircraft airflow systems do control the movement of particles in the cabin, limiting the spread of viruses. Data from the simulations yielded similar results.

IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said there is no single silver-bullet measure that will enable people to live and travel safely in the age of Covid-19. But the combination of measures that are being put in place is reassuring travellers the world over that Covid-19 has not defeated their freedom to fly.

"Nothing is completely risk-free. But with just 44 published cases of potential inflight Covid-19 transmission among 1.2 billion travellers, the risk of contracting the virus on board appears to be in the same category as being struck by lightning," he said.

The detailed computational fluid dynamics research of the aircraft manufacturers demonstrates that combining the aircraft's existing design features with mask-wearing creates a low-risk environment for Covid-19 transmission, said de Juniac.

"As always, airlines, manufacturers and every entity involved in aviation will be guided by science and global best practices to keep flying safe for passengers and crew," he added. (ANI)