Boeing to help airlines keep airplanes disease-free

Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing (NYSE: BA) has appointed one of its lead engineers to develop health-safety policies and procedures for passenger aircraft during the new COVID-19 era.

While eager to resume commercial flights, airlines are already planning to implement more intensive in-cabin sanitation programs when governments begin easing travel restrictions.

On Thursday, Boeing named Mike Delaney, vice president of digital transformation, to head its Confident Travel Initiative, which will work with airlines, global regulators, passenger groups, infectious disease experts and behavioral specialists to create industry-recognized safety recommendations. The team will also study current disinfectants and other sanitizers to ensure that they are safe to use on aircraft flight decks and cabins.

The company is exploring ways to enhance its existing aircraft air filtration systems, which it said are already equivalent to those used in hospitals and industrial clean rooms in terms of removing viruses, bacteria and fungus from the air before it’s recirculated to the cabin.

In addition, Boeing will dedicate research toward developing new in-cabin air and surface disinfectant technologies, including ultraviolet light and anti-microbial coatings for “high-touch” surfaces.

Boeing has a major incentive to help customers fill seats as soon as possible because troubled airlines are deferring orders and won’t buy new airplanes until they are financially stable again.