United is cleaning flight decks with ultraviolet lights

7 Aug 2020 by Seher Asaf
United UVC Lighting

United Airlines says it is now cleaning pilot flight decks with Ultraviolet C (UVC) lights on most aircraft to provide pilots with a sanitary work environment.

The airline is using handheld, AUVCo blades from the American Ultraviolet company to kill any viruses that may reside on sensitive switches and touch screen displays within the flight deck, the carrier said in a press release.

UVC lights have been used on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19. For example, UVC-emitting robots have reportedly been deployed in some hospitals to destroy bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes by damaging their DNA and RNA, so they can’t multiply, according to a BBC report.

United says it has tested a variety of uses for UVC lighting as a disinfectant and consulted with its United CleanPlus (the airline’s new cleaning protocols) partners at the Cleveland Clinic to determine that the flight deck was the most effective use of the technology.

“Flight decks have many working parts, screens and components that are challenging to clean with traditional hand wipes and liquids, especially for someone who isn’t a pilot. The UVC lighting gives us a faster, more effective disinfection of one of the most important areas of the aircraft,” ,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations.

United UVC Lighting

The US carrier currently uses electrostatic sprayers to disinfect its aircraft cabins in an effort to clean harder to reach surfaces like the overhead bins and spaces within tray tables.

United’s use of ultraviolet lighting comes from the airline’s partnership with Cleveland Clinic – an American academic medical center that has been providing the company health and safety guidance throughout the pandemic.

“United implementing UVC lighting in its flight decks is an important tactic because we know that the virus can be killed by ultraviolet light,” said Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic.

“It’s one more measure that we can implement to ensure that we’re doing all we can to keep passengers, flight attendants and crews safer.”

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