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Why and how does the ventilation system work in aircraft ?

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When we are about to travel by plane, we often take a sweater for the trip, in anticipation. The cabin of the latter is always air-conditioned, very fresh. So, to avoid getting sick, we cover ourselves, especially when we return from a summer destination.

But why is the interior so air-conditioned?

The bad news is that temperatures won’t rise indoors. Despite the risk of catching a cold, this ventilation is necessary for the health of all.

Paradoxically, it prevents us from becoming more seriously ill, by preventing the spread of microbes in the cabin.

In addition, the air conditioning system keeps the temperature constant without increasing it, to limit the risk of hypoxia among passengers.


Credit photo : @Gulfstream


Why is air conditioning kept on in airplanes during flights?


The air conditioning system allows the air in the cabin to be regenerated.

Originally, the first commercial flights were fully ventilated, but gradually this habit was lost. This action is costly, as it consumes a lot of fuel.

However, it is still important to ventilate the cabin, since the presence of several people in a small space concentrates carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite the inconveniences caused by ventilation (cold, risk of catching a cold or noise), it should not be cut because, in fact, it prevents us from getting sick. In fact, air conditioning limits the spread of infectious diseases by preventing the development of microbes. Indeed, the air is regenerated and filtered, allowing passengers to enjoy a quality air.

To continue, some people are more sensitive to the heat and pressure in the air and can therefore be a victim of hypoxia. Maintaining a cool temperature limits the risk of discomfort in the air, which would be complicated to manage for a team in full flight.



How does the ventilation system work?


The number of air-conditioning zones differs according to the size of the aircraft and the type of aircraft. Indeed, the longer the flight, the more important the ventilation system is.

The air passing through the ventilation system is filtered by the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) system, eliminating more than 99% of particles such as microbes or viruses.

Very powerful, the air in the cabin is recycled, on average, every three minutes. In fact, 10 to 50% of the air passes through the system 20 to 30 times every hour.

Airplanes have been equipped with this system since the 1980s.

Initially used when smoking was allowed on board, air conditioning also had the objective of providing better air quality for passengers. Moreover, the air being naturally dry, the air conditioning allows to humidify it, creating an invisible barrier to prevent bacteria.

Credit photo : @Cessna


Does air conditioning spread COVID-19?


An efficient ventilation system prevents the virus from spreading. Indeed, the risk is extremely low since the air quality is close to that in a hospital environment. 99.95% of the particles are therefore filtered thanks to HEPA technology, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for COVID-19.

Even if the risk of contamination is low, some cases have been reported during flights due to promiscuity between people.

These contaminations are caused by the fact that some of the passengers were not wearing masks, but also at a time when the ventilation was cut off during a stopover.

Thus, when the ventilation system is on, the risk of contamination is very low. Thus, the wearing of masks is mandatory on board aircraft and the reinforcement of barrier actions.


Faced with the spread of COVID-19, the private jet appears to be a solution to avoid any contamination


The pandemic suspended activity in 2020 and slowed it down significantly in 2021.

Commercial aviation has been hit hard, while private aviation has seen its activity increase by 20%. Indeed, there are many reasons why some individuals have turned to this option. Chartering a private jet is subject to the same rules as for a commercial flight.

First of all, services have been developed, such as medical repatriation.

To continue, private jets offer other advantages, compared to the COVID-19. The number of people on board is much lower than on a commercial flight, but above all, the passengers know each other. In addition, all measures are taken to avoid the spread of the virus (thorough disinfection, ventilation system …) Thus, the risk of contamination is almost nil.

Finally, the private jet always offers a great flexibility and a personalized service to the needs of the customers.


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