JetBlue Airways is the first U.S. airline to place into service a new Honeywell ultraviolet (UV) cabin disinfection system through a pilot evaluation.
Honeywell announced July 29 that it has delivered eight of its UV Cabin Systems to JetBlue, which is evaluating them over 90 days at JFK International Airport in New York and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. The carrier is using the systems while continuing other cleaning methods.
In May, JetBlue announced a “Safety from the Ground Up” program to instill confidence in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier has implemented steps including blocking middle seats to maintain distancing between passengers, electrostatic fogging of cabins, temperature monitoring and requiring the use of face masks.
“With the safety of our crew members and customers our first priority, JetBlue’s Safety from the Ground Up initiative is maintaining a layered approach to safety by ensuring healthy crew members, providing flexibility, adding space, reducing touchpoints and keeping surfaces clean and sanitized,” JetBlue president and COO Joanna Geraghty said.
“As we look to add additional layers of protection by utilizing cutting-edge technology, we have identified the Honeywell UV Cabin System as a potential game changer when it comes to efficiently assisting in our efforts to sanitize surfaces onboard,” Geraghty added.
About the size of a beverage cart, the UV Cabin System traverses the length of an airliner cabin in 10 min. Arms extending from the device over the top of the seating emit UV-C-band radiation to treat cabin surfaces.
When properly applied, Honeywell said, UV-C light can deliver doses of radiation that in clinical studies have been found to be effective in reducing various viruses and bacteria, including the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). There are now multiple studies underway to understand the effect of UV-C light on SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“Preliminary results from studies performed by Boston University and a consortium of Italian medical and academic professionals report that UV-C light can inactivate the virus at prescribed dosages in the lab. Additional studies are underway for other environments,” Honeywell said.