although the reality of a global pandemic has interrupted our collective travel dreams in unprecedented ways, there finally seems to be some comforting news from researchers.
According to a US Department of Defence study, the risk of The risk of exposure to the coronavirus through air on a packed airline flight is very low. The head of the IATA says the risk of contracting COVID-19 on board is in the "same category as being struck by lightning".
The researchers, which included a team from the University of Nebraska, concluded that the plane’s air filtering systems remove the virus 15 times as fast as in a typical home and five or six times as fast as what is recommended for hospital operating rooms and patient isolation rooms. This is a hopeful sign for the airline industry as it tries to rebound from the pandemic's crushing effect on travel.
Experts conducted the study on a United Airlines Boeing 777 and 767 aircraft and claim it showed that masks helped minimise exposure to infection when someone coughed, even in neighbouring seats.
It found about 99.99% of particles were filtered out of the cabin within six minutes due to fast air circulation, downward air ventilation and the filtration systems on the aircraft.
And it estimated that a passenger would need to fly 54 hours on a plane with someone who has coronavirus to receive an infectious dose. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it had identified only 44 flight-related COVID-19 cases since the beginning of 2020, versus some 1.2 billion passengers who have travelled during that time. And as we look to travel in 2021, this is great news.