JetBlue to test UV cleaning to combat coronavirus inside planes

Honeywell system is said to clean cabin in under 10 minutes

JetBlue Airways is slated to become the first major U.S. carrier to test new UV light technology on its aircraft in an effort to better combat the novel coronavirus.

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As part of a 90-day pilot program, Honeywell will roll out eight of its UV Cabin System Units at two of the airline’s focus cities: the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida.

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(JetBlue)

Studies have shown that the UV-C light is capable of reducing various viruses and bacteria, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, "when properly applied at prescribed levels," according to Honeywell, adding that results can vary depending on UV dosage and application.

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The system is approximately the same size as an aircraft bar cart. It has UV-C light arms that extend over the top of seats and can treat the cabin in less than 10 minutes, according to Honeywell.

"As we look to add additional layers of protection by utilizing cutting-edge technology, we have identified the Honeywell UV Cabin System as a potential game changer when it comes to efficiently assisting in our efforts to sanitize surfaces onboard," JetBlue Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty said.

(JetBlue)

There are multiple medical studies underway involving UV-C light and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

To date, "preliminary results from studies performed by Boston University and a consortium of Italian medical and academic professionals report that UV-C light can inactivate the virus at prescribed dosages in the lab," Honeywell said, adding that additional studies are underway for other environments.

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“JetBlue took an immediate interest in this new product when we demonstrated it for them just a few weeks ago, and now JetBlue is receiving our first systems,” said Honeywell Aerospace CEO Mike Madsen. “We’ve ramped up production quickly on the UV Cabin System, and our company is working on a range of solutions to help make passengers more comfortable about flying.”

While JetBlue figures out how to best make use of the system in its business, the company will also continue other cleaning methods in an effort to keep passengers and crew members safe from COVID-19.

Confirmed cases of the virus have topped 4.3 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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