It has started cautiously, and it’s still carefully controlled. But we’re confident: the business aviation industry will start to return to normal. Even if this winter sees a resurgence of the virus, we are better prepared. Skies will be busier, borders will start reopening, and FBOs will see a stream of travelers passing through.
Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has changed our priorities. Travelers are rightfully demanding more control of their environment than before, prioritizing personal safety, hygiene and cleanliness. Here are three reasons why the nature of business jet cabin design, usage patterns, and upkeep, make this the healthiest way to fly.
A breath of fresh air
There has always been discussion around air quality when flying and, now more than ever, the perceived risk of spreading airborne viruses in the cabin has brought the use of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to the fore. This system uses 50/50 fresh air from outside the cabin and recirculated air, which passes through filters. For those aircraft types that don’t have a 100% fresh air system, entirely replenishing the air every few minutes (as found in all Gulfstream models), HEPA filters are the main form of purification.
HEPA filters, according to IATA, capture more than 99% of airborne viruses and are as effective as those found in hospital operating theaters. They’ve been used in business aircraft for years, including the long-range Bombardier Global 6000, 6500 and 7500 models; in the midsize market, they’re found in the new Cessna Citation Longitude, and the popular Latitude jet. Embraer offers them on its new Praetor 500 and 600 jets. View our Guide to Aircraft OEM Cabin Air Quality, designed to provide reassurance of the health benefits afforded by business aviation.
While HEPA filters are also used in many commercial airliners, a study by European charter operator Globe Air found that the air supply on a business jet is better overall, due to the smaller aircraft dimensions and lower passenger numbers.
A rarified atmosphere
Having fewer passengers on board allows personal ‘bubbles’ to be maintained through an entire journey, from transfer to aircraft steps, often bypassing the terminal to ensure interactions are kept to a minimum. Some dedicated business aviation airports are now even promising contactless travel, vastly reducing the number of ‘touchpoints’ when a passenger might contract Covid-19.
The same Globe Air study identified a 30x lower risk of contracting Covid-19 when flying privately, due to the lower number of touchpoints: up to 700 were found in a commercial airport and aircraft, versus approximately 20 for a business jet journey.
A self-cleaning cabin
Besides airborne virus transmission, many infections – including Covid-19 – can be spread through particles that land on surfaces. At Jetcraft, we’ve teamed up with interiors specialist F/LIST to treat all our eligible inventory aircraft with MicroShield 360, an innovative antimicrobial treatment for cabins.
MicroShield 360 forms a barrier of nanoscopic spikes on the treated surface, which kills germs on contact, destroying the outer cell membrane like bursting a balloon. The system is colorless, odorless, hypoallergenic and FDA-approved. As it’s a ‘mechanical’ treatment rather than chemical, it can’t be wiped away or removed by regular cleaning, protecting the cabin for 12+ months after a two-hour application.
It goes without saying that we’re committed to safeguarding our customers, so wherever they are in the buying process – taking a tour, enjoying a demo flight, or receiving the aircraft – they can be confident while on board.
Business aviation activity is certainly picking up worldwide: according to data by WINGX, private flights are back to normal for Australia and India; up in Brazil and the UAE; the US is back to 90% of usual levels; and Europe’s at 80%, driven by an uptick in leisure flights and especially the shorter range operations. Whether a first-time buyer or a seasoned business jet flier, this turbulent period has thrown into sharp relief the need to have control over the travel experience. In our new environment, business jets offer a gateway to safe, healthy, flexible flight.
All information regarding aircraft cabin air systems has originated from the OEM in question and is accurate as of September 1st, 2020.
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