Emirates Spending Up To 8 Hours Deep Disinfecting A Single Airbus A380

Recently, Emirates released a YouTube video demonstrating the lengths its employees go through to clean its aircraft. Without mentioning the words ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID19’, this video and the accompanying press release have clearly been created to give its travelers peace of mind as they step aboard an Emirates aircraft.

Emirates Spending Up To 8 Hours Deep Disinfecting A Single Airbus A380
A shot of an ‘army’ of hazmat-suited aircraft cleaning staff boarding an A380 to disinfect it. Photo: Emirates

“In response to the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, Emirates is taking extra steps that go above and beyond industry and regulatory requirements to ensure its customers’ health and comfort, and provide them with confidence and peace of mind when planning their travel.” -Emirates press statement

“Cleanest in the skies” – Emirates’ new video

The video combines dramatic and cinematic music with footage of cleaning staff wiping and scrubbing every surface of an Airbus A380. The final touch is the addition of subtitles describing the policies the airline has in place.

Emirates’ disinfection policies

Emirates has the following policies in place during this period of extra caution surrounding the coronavirus:

  • With the coronavirus primarily transmitted by touch, the greatest focus is on surface cleaning.
  • The airline uses an approved chemical that is proven to kill viruses and germs. This chemical also leaves a long-lasting protective coating against new contamination of viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces, and is eco-friendly.
Emirates Spending Up To 8 Hours Deep Disinfecting A Single Airbus A380
Photo: Emirates

The ‘enhanced’ cleaning and disinfection process on all aircraft from Dubai (regardless of route) includes a comprehensive wipe down of all surfaces, including:

  • windows
  • tray tables
  • seatback screens
  • armrests
  • seats
  • in-seat controls
  • panels
  • air vents
  • overhead lockers
  • lavatories
  • galleys
  • crew rest areas

All of this is, the airline says, is done in addition to its other normal procedures such as changing headrest covers on all seats, replacement of reading materials, vacuuming, and more.

Emirates Spending Up To 8 Hours Deep Disinfecting A Single Airbus A380
A team of 18 clean a 777 in an hour while 36 cleaners tackle an A380. Photo: Emirates

Eight-hour cleaning for aircraft that have carried an infected person

All of the above activities are completed within the span of an hour with the help of an 18-member cleaning team for a Boeing 777, and a team of 36 for an A380. According to Emirates, in an average 24-hour period 248 aircraft go through this process.

So an intense one-hour cleaning takes place for ‘normal flights’. But it’s a whole other procedure when an aircraft is found to have transported a suspected or confirmed coronavirus case.

In this instance, Emirates implements deep cleaning and disinfection processes that take between six to eight hours to complete. This includes:

  • the defogging of cabin interiors
  • misting with disinfectant across all soft furnishings
  • replacement of seat covers
  • cushions in the affected area
  • replacement of the aircraft’s HEPA cabin air filters (which filter out 99.97% of viruses, allergens, and microbes)
Emirates Spending Up To 8 Hours Deep Disinfecting A Single Airbus A380
The airline will replace cabin air filters if it suspects or confirms that a passenger with the virus is onboard. Photo: Emirates

Additional coronavirus policy changes

During this outbreak period, Emirates is giving customers the ability to change their travel dates without change/cancelation fees. This waiver policy only applies booked tickets issued on or from 7 March until 31 March 2020.

The airline is also trying to keep its frequent flyers and status holders happy. Emirates Skywards is providing its Platinum, Gold and Silver members the ability to maintain their current status by fulfilling just 80% of their tier travel requirements between 31 March and 30 June 2020. Skywards members booked to travel between 1 March and 30 June 2020 will also receive an additional 20% bonus Tier Miles.

Emirates Spending Up To 8 Hours Deep Disinfecting A Single Airbus A380
The airline sprays its aircraft with disinfectant. Photo: Emirates


This PR move should reassure its customers to some degree as they board an aircraft. However, this overlooks the fact that there aren’t usually screening procedures for departing passengers, usually just for arrivals. Therefore, it’s still possible to board an Emirates flight and be exposed to something. Despite that fact, the video is still quite convincing.

After watching the video and reading details of Emirates’ process, are you more reassured about traveling? Let us know in the comments.