London – 17 August 2020: A new research report by the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University concludes the use of personal protection seat shields in conjunction with face masks significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19 contamination.
The report, ‘Face Coverings, Aerosol Dispersion and Mitigation of Virus Transmission Risk’, investigates the effectiveness of different face coverings to inform guidelines on the use of PPE. It finds that both face masks and shields allow for significant leakage of fluid particles, particularly if worn incorrectly or from heavy breathing and coughing.
London Biggin Hill Airport-based aircraft interior and exterior specialist, RAS Completions, is calling for airlines to adopt the use of protective seat shields alongside the mandatory use of face masks on aircraft. The company’s Personal Protection Window (PPW), a clear plastic barrier which can be fixed to the back and sides of any aircraft seat, is the first of its kind to be fully aircraft approved.
Dr Cathal Cummins, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Institute for Infrastructure & Environment from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, who co-authored the report, says: “Our recommendation is that airlines should make face masks mandatory, and if used in conjunction with PPW and regular cleaning of PPW, COVID-19 contamination risk is kept to a minimum. If all three measures are mandatory, together with good personal hygiene, airlines can increase passenger protection.”
The report finds that jets of air can leak out of the sides and back as well as the front of masks. This is important when using masks on public transport or when seated on aircraft. RAS Completions’ PPW is designed to shield passengers from this lateral person-to-person droplet transmission.
Russell Pitt, Director, RAS Completions says: “Unlike many designs, our PPW can be safely installed without blocking or removing the middle seat, making it a viable option for airlines who want to provide an added layer of protection beyond masks. Passenger confidence is key to the recovery of air travel, and it is clear following this study that protective seat shields like ours will keep people safe and go a long way in encouraging a return to the skies.”
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Notes to editors:
The authors advise that the reduction in risk can only be achieved if face masks are used in conjunction with PPW and not as a replacement for wearing a mask. The effectiveness of PPW will depend also on the strength and direction of air currents and extraction within the aircraft. The PPW should also be cleaned after every flight.
About London Biggin Hill Airport
London Biggin Hill Airport is located 12 miles from central London and offers award-winning VIP handling, a choice of FBOs, extensive hangarage, support and maintenance services for all ranges of business jets.
A designated UK Port of Entry, London Biggin Hill is free of runway slot constraints. An exclusive six-minute helicopter transfer service to and from the heart of the capital makes it the fastest transfer of any London airport.
London Biggin Hill is the only dedicated business aviation airport within the capital and is already home to more than 70 resident aviation businesses.
There are very few places in the world other than London Biggin Hill where aircraft operators and support companies can conduct all aspects of their business operations, management and maintenance at the heart of a global city and with the confidence in their ability to expand and develop over time.