Embraer Looks To UVC Lights For Aircraft Disinfection

Embraer has released technical guidance for aircraft disinfection, with plans to utilize UVC lighting along with coatings and disinfectants on its commercial aircraft. UVC lighting is advised to disinfect the cockpit, which the manufacturer claims will eliminate all traces of COVID-19.

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Embraer operators have been advised to use UVC technology to disinfect jets. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Embraer offers technical guidance on disinfection

Brazilian aerospace company Embraer has published technical guidance on how to disinfect its commercial planes. The guidelines advise UVC radiation to eliminate COVID in the cockpit and the use of special coatings and disinfectants for other areas of the plane.

The aircraft included under the guidance are the EMB120 Brasilia, the ERJ 145, the E-Jets, and the E2 families of commercial aircraft. According to Embraer, over 2,500 of their planes are operated by 100 customers across over 80 countries.

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Along with UVC lighting, Embraer has approved new disinfectants and coatings for usage on their jets. Photo: Getty Images

Johann Bordais, President & CEO, Embraer Services & Support, said,

“The main goal of these guidances is to effectively eliminate or inactivate a microorganism or virus in the flight deck and the passenger cabin through an effective, yet easy procedure.”

Embraer has also given approval for operators to use two coating systems, MicroShield360 and Bacoban, onboard their jets. These coating technologies help to prevent the growth and spread of microorganisms. Some airlines have implemented similar products, such as American Airlines, which has used SurfaceWise2, an electrostatic spray.

The manufacturer will also allow operators of the ERJ 145 to install HEPA filters. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are said to capture 99.97% of airborne particles and are already a standard feature onboard E-Jets and E-Jets E2.

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How effective is UVC against COVID?

According to the FDA, ‘UVC radiation has been shown to destroy the outer protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus.’ However, UVC lighting must be used correctly or it can prove ineffective. Direct exposure to UVC light is essential, and a high enough dose is also necessary to cause enough damage to the virus.

Many UVC systems have been trialed, including this set-up by Honeywell. Photo: Getty Images

UVC lighting has already been used by airlines and aerospace companies in the fight against COVID. Boeing, together with companies Healthe Inc. and Far UV Technologies, rapidly developed a handheld UVC wand last year. Many airports are already using UVC technology to disinfect public areas, and several airlines have trialed and implemented their own systems over the past year.

While sufficient doses of UVC have been shown to kill over 99% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in just seconds, it alone won’t be enough to disinfect planes effectively as 100% coverage isn’t guaranteed. This is why other solutions, including disinfectant sprays, antimicrobial coatings and social distancing measures, are also necessary to maximize effectiveness.

Embraer offered guidance on vaccines

In December, Embraer released another set of technical guidelines, this time pertaining to vaccine transportation. Due to the complexities of transporting vaccines, requiring temperatures as low as -70°C, C02 level regulation and time-sensitive deliveries, Embraer issued guidance that enabled airlines to safely and efficiently carry vaccines across the world.

How confident are you in airline disinfectant procedures? Do you feel operators are taking enough care to ensure every plane is fully virus-free? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.