Airlines follow the recommendations set by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) and state regulations for aircraft cleaning. These imply as frequent cleaning and disinfection of the cabin and flight deck as necessary to ensure the safety of passengers.
Airlines also constantly monitor and assess the risk level of transmission of COVID-19 on each route as risk levels may change quickly according to the rate of local transmission.
Additionally, most airlines have developed their own methodology of risk assessment to determine whether more measures to lower the potential for transmission are required.
Airlines Cabin Cleaning
Pre-flight and overnight cleaning recommendations*
Passenger Seating Area
14 separate cleaning tasks. Including cleaning:
- Seat belts and buckles
- Seat backs and pockets
- Inflight entertainment units
- Tray tables
- Overhead air vents, buttons, and luggage bins
- Seat floor area
- Cabin walls, windows, and blinds
- Aisle carpeting
*Using approved disinfectants with at least 70% alcohol content and additional training for cleaning staff.
Airlines Washroom Cleaning
12 Separate cleaning tasks. Including cleaning:
- Soap dispensers
- Hand basins, handles and fittings
- Sidewall panels and ceiling
- Shelves and changing table
- Toilet bowl, cover, seat and flushing mechanism
- Door and handles (both sides)
Airlines will add extra disinfection measures based on a thorough risk assessment. Additional inflight cleaning and sanitization may also be carried out by cabin crew
What disinfectant type?
Airlines will ensure that all cleaning and disinfectant products used by ground handling or the cleaning company staff are based on the aircraft manufacturers' recommendations. Manufacturers recommend using a 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) as a disinfectant for the touch surfaces in the flight deck, cabin and cargo hold. For other surfaces, cleaning and disinfection products shall have at least 60% alcohol to effectively destroy the virus.
Cleaning staff has to be adequately trained in the use of products to ensure that all cleaning is undertaken safely, without any damage to the aircraft or the flight deck equipment. It includes understanding the hazards of chemicals used to clean surfaces, the latest techniques on cleaning, and understanding the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfectant products. They also need to observe COVID-19 related physical distancing and personal hygiene measures.