The COVID-19 Air Travel Guide – All you need to know Pt. 1
Crew & Service
Due to COVID-19, air travel can be a possible risk factor for the health & safety of your passengers. Offering the right hygiene products minimizes the risk on board significantly. But when purchasing hygiene products, our clients are faced with enormous challenges. There are hundreds of different products on the market, leading to many questions regarding the health & safety of air travelers. This blog will discuss the different Sanitizing Products that are available on the market.
So, let’s start to tidy up the hygiene product confusion by raising some questions:
- What kind of hygiene products are essential during air travel?
- How to I differentiate these products?
- What kind of masks exist and which mask is the best one for air travel?
- Which product categories are involved?
We know – this is a lot to cover in a short blog, but all of these questions have been raised and answered within our team during the last few months. Often, it is best to go through every single step of your passengers’ travel journey to figure out which touchpoints and risk potential they will encounter. Each airline and client will have different needs, challenges, budgets, and risks. Each client will need a different solution. To find the right product offering, we work together closely with our clients and develop customized and individual solutions while keeping an eye on the budget.
Importance of Safety Management
However, it is for this very reason that safety on board is more important than ever before. Many airlines are currently making budget cuts, but cutting safety management costs is not the best way to save money. A possible spread of COVID-19 on board could potentially lead to a negative reputation and a damaged image for your brand. Especially now, while most of the big players on the market are about to position themselves in the best way for the time when the market finally picks up again, a strong safety track record is indispensable for keeping a strong position to ride the market up.
There are countless hygiene products on the market, which can quickly lead to confusion. One thing we have noticed at SPIRIANT is that many products that are being offered do not fit the requirements of each airline, passenger, or region. Often, the products are not even authorized throughout all markets.
There is an extensive overview of the different facemasks currently available on the market. While passengers can use their personal community masks on board, there are special work safety requirements for the flight crew. Face masks are available to wear for psychological and/or medical protection. Therefore different types of masks offer different levels of protection depending on the material and construction. Face masks are developed to prevent the spreading of illness as well as harmful environmental influences. Primarily, there are two types of face masks:
- Medical-Grade masks are again divided into N95 respirators, FFP masks and surgical face masks.
- Non-Medical face coverings such as reusable cloth masks or scarves are used just like the surgical mask but protect other people rather than the wearer.
For the evaluation which mask fulfills the requirements for your flight crew, discuss your objectives and challenges with our team and get a personalized offer.
Sanitizing, Anti-Bacterial & Disinfection Products
While travelling, you may not always have access to clean running water and soap. In this situation, sanitizing and disinfection products are the best defense against infection. It is important to provide passengers with hand sanitizers to allow them to clean their hands before they consume food. Furthermore, disinfectant wipes must be available to clean objects passengers come into frequent contact with on a plane, like their desk, the entertaining system monitor and their armrests.
Unfortunately, there can be a confusion between the different terms. All products fall under the same category ‘Biocides’. Biocides are used to decontaminate skin and surfaces against living organisms and contain approved substances, e.g. alcohol or chlorine, to inactivate bacteria, germs, viruses or fungi.
- Sanitizing products = Meant to reduce, not kill bacteria, viruses and fungi
- Disinfection products = Will “kill” microscopic organisms
- Anti-bacterial products = Product is effective against bacteria only
Biocides vs Cosmetics
There is a difference between biocides and cosmetic products which can lead to a problem with the authorization in different countries and markets. A correct assignment of a product to the different categories has far-reaching consequences. For example, there are different requirements and regulations for food, cosmetics, drugs and chemicals. Therefore the measures for sanction options and authorization procedures vary for each category.
While cosmetic products are intended to clean, perfume or protect parts of the human body, biocidal products are used to destroy, deter, harm, prevent, or otherwise combat harmful organisms in a manner other than mere physical or mechanical action.
- Cosmetics = defined within the EU Regulation (EG) 1223/2009
- Biocides = defined within the Biocide-Regulation (EU) 528/2012
Global Regulations on Biocides
As already mentioned, the admission regulations for different markets differ enormously. The approval in the EU, which is managed by ECHA, does not automatically lead to an authorization on the U.S. market. The FDA is the authority responsible for the US. In addition, there are different challenges for handling the products, such as unloading the aircraft, for which there are explicit provisions that must be observed.
Hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes both fall under the category of biocides. These products are mostly used in food service settings. A product which is labeled as a ‘food contact sanitizer’ can be safely applied to surfaces that will later be exposed to food.
As hand sanitizers are ultimately disinfectants for the hands, the Biocide or Cosmetics Regulation covers them, depending on the country or origin and the design. Within the European Union, all products labeled as ‘sanitizers’ will automatically fall under the category ‘biocide’ and therefore be regulated under the strict biocide regulation.
In case you have any questions regarding our #PPE products or like to obtain more information, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to hear from you.