JetBlue Is Testing a Giant UV Light Machine That Could Disinfect Plane Cabins in Under 10 Minutes

Eight of the devices are being tested at New York’s JFK Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

JetBlue has started using a new robotic disinfectant machine capable of cleaning the entire cabin in less than 10 minutes with the help of UV light.

The Honeywell UV Cabin System works its way down the aisle and shines a UV light from the ceiling to the floor. An airline employee pushes the machine down the aisle, much like they would a drinks cart and the arms stretch out over seats projecting UV light which disinfects high-touch areas in the cabin, including the bathroom.

JetBlue is testing eight of the devices at New York’s JFK Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The two locations are kickstarting a 90-day pilot program during which time JetBlue will evaluate the Honeywell technology.

“As we look to add additional layers of protection by utilizing cutting-edge technology, we have identified the Honeywell UV Cabin System as a potential game changer when it comes to efficiently assisting in our efforts to sanitize surfaces onboard,” JetBlue’s president and COO, Joanna Geraghty, said in a press release on Wednesday.

Since it can quickly be wheeled on and off aircraft and because the cabin disinfecting procedure only takes about 10 minutes, the Honeywell machine could greatly reduce airplane downtime between flights.

According to Honeywell, UVC lights are capable of reducing viruses and bacteria, including SARS CoV and MERS CoV. No testing has yet been completed about how UVC lights combat COVID-19 but several medical studies are underway.

JetBlue’s coronavirus safety response program is called “Safety From the Ground Up” and includes disinfectant kits onboard flights and more rigorous cleaning using hospital-grade disinfectants and electrostatic sprayers.

Companies are trying several new innovations to combat COVID-19 in airplanes. One aerospace manufacturer designed seats with dividers to help with both privacy and social distancing while flying. Another company laid out the airplane cabin with flipped seating and a clear divider to help mitigate the spread of viruses.

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