Qatar Airways Continues Its UV Cabin Sanitization Roll Out

Doha-based Qatar Airways is continuing to roll out UV technology to disinfect its aircraft cabins. The airline has begun to roll out the second generation of Honeywell’s UV Cabin System. The Qatari carrier was the first airline to use the first generation of Honeywell’s ultraviolet cabin sanitization system.

Qatar Airways, Ultraviolet light, COVID-19
Qatar Airways is continuing to advance its fight against COVID-19. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

The pandemic has thrown up many challenges for airlines around the globe. Some of the most notable have been the fleet groundings that have seen the likes of Qatar Airways suggest it may not fly the Airbus A380 again. However, the other huge challenge thrown up was that of maintaining the health and safety of guests. Indeed, Qatar went much further than many airlines in this respect.

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Trialing version two

Having successfully used the first version of Honeywell’s ultraviolet cabin sanitization device, Qatar Airways has become the launch customer for the second version. So far, the Doha-based carrier is using 17 units to disinfect its planes on the ground at Hamad International Airport.

The device is roughly the size of a cabin catering trolley and can be pushed through an aircraft by an operative wearing the appropriate protective equipment. The light kills bacteria and viruses without the need to use chemicals.

Qatar Airways, Ultraviolet light, COVID-19
The second version of the machine has adjustable wings to fit the cabin width better. Photo: Qatar Airways

The second version of the device has several upgrades from the first model. Firstly, its ‘UV Wings’ are extendable, meaning that it can adapt to the width of the aircraft speeding up the time taken for sanitization. However, it also comes with a hand wand that operatives can use to disinfect small or awkward areas, such as the cockpit or lavatories. Boeing has previously worked on a UV wand to disinfect the cockpit. Finally, V2 is not motorized, meaning that more battery power is available to power the UV lights.

Commenting on the second edition of the device, Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker said,

“As the first global airline to operate the latest version of the Honeywell UV Cabin System V2 on board our aircraft, it is significantly more user friendly and technologically advanced. QAS has continued to maintain our impeccable service during the outbreak of COVID-19, specifically supporting with repatriation flights and increased cargo workloads”

Qatar Airways, Ultraviolet light, COVID-19
It also comes with a UV wand for difficult-to-reach areas. Photo: Qatar Airways

Sanitizing seats and surfaces

Everybody is aware of the risk of COVID-19 spreading through droplets in the air. This is why masks are mandated in much of society today. However, the COVID-19 virus can also live on surfaces. Indeed, according to the BBC, research has shown the virus can live on surfaces for up to 28 days in lab conditions.

While the BBC suggests that the risk of touch-based contraction is lower, the risk remains. With several passengers possibly using an aircraft each day, airlines have been seeking to disinfect cabins before each use. In the case of Qatar Airways, ultraviolet light is being used.

Tackling the pandemic head-on

Qatar Airways has always tried to be one step ahead of the pandemic, often taking more drastic measures than its rivals. However, this seems to have paid off. While the carrier is currently banned from flying to England, this hasn’t always been the case.

Qatar Airways, Ultraviolet light, COVID-19
At the height of the pandemic’s impact a year ago, Qatar’s crew were ordered to don full PPE. Photo: Qatar Airways

Most airlines were forced to suspend operations around a year ago. This was true of the airline’s biggest rivals, Emirates and Etihad. Despite this, Qatar maintained a vital global network through the height of the crisis. This did come with some concessions, though.

Qatar Airways made its entire crew dress in full PPE for the duration of flights. Meanwhile, all passengers, children included, were required to wear face masks and face shields. Things seem to be getting better, though. Qatar Airways recently operated the world’s first fully vaccinated flight.

What do you make of the second edition cabin sanitizer? Will it help in the fight against COVID-19? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!