IATA insists plane cabin a ‘low-risk environment’ for COVID-19

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) keeps insisting that the quality of supplied air on board an aircraft is much better than most indoor environments, therefore aircraft cabin remains a very low-risk environment for contracting COVID-19, even though the new Omicron strain of the virus appears to be more transmissible than other variants in all environments.

According to IATA, factors that contribute to the very low risks include aircraft design characteristics (direction of airflow, rate of air exchange and filtration), the forward orientation of passengers while seated, well-enforced masking, and enhanced sanitary measures. 

Other cabin features including the mandatory usage of masks on board and the requirements around tests and/or vaccination certificates, make the risk of contracting COVID-19 to be very low, IATA claims.

Public health authorities have not suggested further measures for indoor environments as a result of Omicron; and IATA’s advice for travelers, including correctly wearing masks, is also unchanged.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a trade association of the world’s airlines founded in 1945. IATA has been described as a cartel since, in addition to setting technical standards for airlines, IATA also organized tariff conferences that served as a forum for price fixing.

Consisting of 290 airlines (2016), primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA’s member airlines account for carrying approximately 82% of total available seat miles air traffic. IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. It is headquartered in Canada in the city of Montréal, with executive offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

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