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INNOVATION: Will this invention let us fly again?

GLASSAFE - Aviointeriors

PortandTerminal.com, April 21, 2020

With airlines looking to safeguard passengers when demand returns, many are considering how social distancing could be maintained on a plane. Is this the solution? Passenger ferries and Port Authorities take note.

NAPLES, ITALY – How do you maintain social distancing on an airplane? An Italian aviation design firm has unveiled a new product that could help airlines to get passengers safely back into the sky once the coronavirus pandemic restrictions ease.

Social distancing in flight

Aviointeriors has developed a concept solution; a hygienic screen to cocoon passengers and keep them separate from their neighbors.

The lack of personal space on passenger airplanes, especially in the economy section, used to be a complaint. Now it’s not only a complaint but a deal-breaker if airlines ever hope to get people flying again post-pandemic.

To solve the problem, some airlines are considering blocking middle seats in a bid to distance passengers, while others are testing every passenger for COVID-19 before allowing them to board.

READ: Emirates Starts Rapid-Testing Passengers for Virus Pre Flight

But even after blocking the middle seat in the economy section, you are not creating the six-feet of recommended social distancing space. And while rapid testing may be part of the answer, as we have seen already, tests sometimes fail.

Italian firm Aviointeriors believes it has a more practical solution.

Its newly announced Glassafe product is designed to shield passengers from their neighbors and those passing through the aisle by cocooning each one in a plastic shield.

Airplane seat with a plastic shield

“Glassafe [creates] an isolated volume around the passenger in order to avoid or minimize contacts and interactions via air between passenger and passenger, so as to reduce the probability of contamination by viruses or other.”

Aviointeriors company statement

Is this the solution to fix the social distancing problem on passenger aircraft? Although this is just a concept right now, Aviointeriors has already patented this design and says it is ready to go into production.

READ: GETTING BACK TO WORK – Port of Antwerp fighting virus with smart bracelet

The product still requires aviation regulators to be on board before the design ever makes it onto an aircraft. In the meantime, passenger ferry operators and Port Authorities should take note of this possible solution to a problem they will soon be facing as well.

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