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Boeing testing ultraviolet wands for aircraft disinfection to enhance COVID-19 protection

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 31 – Boeing has begun testing a new prototype ultraviolet (UV) wand which has been developed with its airline customers, to provide disinfection for aircraft flight decks and cabins.

Boeing developed the UV wand prototype that demonstrates an ability to successfully disinfect flight decks, lavatories and cabins.

UV light can be scanned inches away from aircraft interior surfaces, disinfecting areas and surfaces where the light reaches.

Testing is ongoing to fully validate its effectiveness and safety (for operators and materials). UV light has been shown to be effective at neutralizing pathogens. Testing against the COVID-19 virus is ongoing.

Boeing’s proposed concept in development is a mobile, hand-held UV disinfecting wand that can access compact spaces. A single operator can treat a flight deck in less than 15 minutes with a UV wand.

The UV wand is undergoing testing by airline partners, including Etihad Airways.

Etihad has been an early adopter of testing this technology and partnered with Boeing in April, providing valuable feedback for the second-generation prototype which is now being tested on Etihad’s 787 Dreamliner ecoDemonstrator.

The teamwork on the ecoDemonstrator is an element of Boeing and Etihad’s ongoing partnership to test various technologies to make aviation safer and more sustainable now and for the future.

The UV wand is being deployed as part of Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative, which provides leadership in the global effort to provide passengers and crew a safe, healthy and efficient travel experience, as well as identifying the most effective methods to disinfect the interior of an aircraft. Ultraviolet technology is a promising addition to measures already in place.

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The UV wand is a continuation of Boeing’s work using ultraviolet disinfection in the lavatory. Boeing is also assessing persistent UV (using a different wavelength) that disinfects continuously for potential use in flight decks, lavatories, galleys and cabins.

Boeing is partnering with universities and government laboratories to continue to study and evaluate the safety of any UV wand device and application in the airplane. As for compatibility with airplane interiors, we continue to evaluate how materials respond to UV exposure. Customer airlines have received guidance regarding the location and number of UV disinfection operations.

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