Coronavirus prompts Boeing to launch 'Confident Travel' initiative to encourage passengers to get back on planes

Aerospace giant works to ensure passengers board airplanes 'without hesitation' 

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As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease across the country, Boeing is encouraging airline passengers to get back on planes with its Confident Travel Initiative. The initiative, led by Boeing's vice president of Digital Transformation, Mike Delaney, will "develop new solutions to help minimize air travel health risks" during the coronavirus pandemic and "drive awareness of health safeguards already in place."

"As air travel slowly begins to resume and restrictions ease around the globe, health and safety remain our top priorities for our teams who design, build and service the airplanes and all those who fly on them," said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. "Mike's deep technical expertise, leadership skills, industry knowledge and great passion for our customers make him uniquely qualified to lead this effort."

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The Confident Travel team will work with airlines, global regulators, industry stakeholders, passengers, infectious disease experts and behavioral specialists to establish industry-wide safety recommendations to ensure airline passengers and crews will board Boeing airplanes "without hesitation." They will also work with airline operators to advise them on existing and approved disinfectants that are compatible with the airplane flight decks and cabins and test other sanitizers.

"Our commitment to ensuring the health of airline passengers and crews is unwavering," said Delaney. "We're working with partners to enhance aircraft cleanliness procedures and identify other areas to further reduce the risk of airborne illness transmission."

The team will advocate for the use of facial coverings, temperature checks and enhanced cleaning procedures on all Boeing airplanes. It will also promote the use of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration systems which, according to the company, are "99.9+% effective at removing particulates such as viruses, bacteria and fungi before air is recirculated back to the cabin."

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Calhoun told FOX Business it could take three years for airline traffic to return to 2019 levels and another two years for the airline industry to see growth.

"If I survey all of our customers and I start here in the U.S., and of course we do...most are trying to dial in a return of about 30 [percent] to 50 percent by the end of this year," Calhoun told "Mornings with Maria". "A lot's going to depend on how the public responds to the safety of airline cabins, etc."

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.38.01+0.77+2.07%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.34.00+0.28+0.83%
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.12.60-0.55-4.18%
JBLUJETBLUE AIRWAYS13.43+0.43+3.31%
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.42.79+0.86+2.05%
SAVESPIRIT AIRLINES INC.18.58+0.62+3.45%

According to preliminary data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. airlines carried just 7 million passengers in March as the coronavirus pandemic spread to the United States, a 51 percent decrease compared to more than 79 million passengers at the same time last year. On Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration screened 176,667 passengers compared to the more than 2.3 million at the same time last year.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BABOEING COMPANY167.36-1.71-1.01%

Boeing stock closed at $122.52 per share during Thursday's trading session.

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