A study conducted by United Airlines and Department of Defense, US says the risk of COVID-19 exposure onboard its aircraft is “virtually non-existent”. It was found that when masks are worn there is only a 0.003% chance particles from a passenger can enter the passenger’s breathing space who is sitting beside them. It indicates that being on board an aircraft is the safest indoor public space, because of the unique configuration inside an aircraft that includes aggressive ventilation, lots of airflow. They ran 300 tests in a little over six months with a mannequin on a United plane.
The mannequin was equipped with an aerosol generator that allowed technicians to reproduce breathing and coughing. Each test released 180 million particles – equivalent to the number of particles that would be produced by thousands of coughs. They studied the way the mannequin’s particles moved inside the cabin with a mask on and off.
The tests assumed the flight was completely full with technicians placing sensors in seats, galleys, and the jet bridge to represent other passengers on the plane.
Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new research, saying the risk of contracting the virus on a plane appears to be “in the same category as being struck by lightning.”