According to Wikipedia, US Marines are taught to be able to overcome any obstacle.
The concept is encapsulated in the slogan “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.”
And that’s exactly what Qatar Airways is doing, in its battle with Covid.
The airline announced that it will soon introduce a touchless technology — that’s right, touchless — on its flights as a way of protecting its passengers against the coronavirus.
The Doha-based airline’s Zero Touch technology allows passengers to access in-flight entertainment without touching the screen on the seat in front of them, as is customary on flights, Al Monitor reported.
Instead, they are able to pair a phone or other electronic device to Qatar’s entertainment system via Wi-Fi and navigate through the options on their devices.
It also allows for passengers to use their own Bluetooth headphones, Qatar Airways said in a press release last week.
The touchless option is expected to be rolled out from late March onward, a Qatar Airways spokeswoman told Al-Monitor on Sunday.
“The introduction of the state-of-the-art Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent Covid-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board,” Qatar Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said.
“We hope it provides yet further assurance of the safety of air travel, as well as offering passengers on board increased confidence that they are enjoying the most consistently advanced customer experience available in the sky,” Al Baker continued.
Covid-19 can live for a time on various surfaces, but health experts have yet to determine if surface-to-person is a likely form of transmission, Al-Monitor reported.
Airlines around the world, including Qatar, are still deep cleaning and disinfecting cabins in between flights anyway.
Qatar Airways is unique among Gulf carriers in that it never stopped regularly scheduled passenger flights.
The airline is currently flying to around 130 destinations. In January, Qatar Airways expanded flights to several US destinations, Al Monitor reported.
The keys to clean cabin air include high rate of fresh air flow, High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, commonly called HEPA filters, and the design of aircraft airflow distribution.
The biggest factor in cabin air quality is the inflow of fresh air.
Aviation regulatory authorities such as the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency require a minimum rate of 0.55 pounds per minute outside fresh air flow per occupant.
In a large commercial passenger aircraft, that means a typical environmental control system may replace the air occupying the cabin every 2 to 3 minutes — 20 to 30 times per hour.
By comparison, the general guidance on fresh air inflow for your office building is only 4 changes per hour.
A recent study conducted for the Department of Defense adds credence to the growing belief that airline passengers face minimal risk of contracting coronavirus when flying.
The study found the risk of aerosol dispersion — transmission of the virus through the air — was reduced 99.7% thanks to high air exchange rates, HEPA-filtered recirculation and downward ventilation.
— with files from Travel Pulse, Wikipedia, Department of Defense & USA Today