< Reveal sidebar

United Airlines may have to furlough up to 36,000 workers on Oct. 1. In June, it increased incentives for cabin crew who opt for a voluntary buyout option to mitigate involuntary layoffs. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ryan Ewing)

United Airlines to Use Ultraviolet C Light to Clean Aircraft Flight Decks

United Airlines has announced that it is using ultraviolet C (UVC) light to clean the flight decks on some of its aircraft.

Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation and it has three categories: A, B, and C. Each of the three categories has a different wavelength. UVA has the longest wavelength while UVC has the shortest wavelength (and therefore the highest energy). Due to its short wavelength and high energy, UVC can be used as a disinfectant while the other categories of ultraviolet light cannot. UVC’s properties make it capable of disrupting the DNA of microorganisms and destroying their nucleic acids.

According to the carrier, UVC technology is being used on “most” aircraft at its hub airports. United is using a handheld device manufactured by American Ultraviolet called the UVC blade to perform the flight deck cleanings. American Ultraviolet describes the device on its website as “a handheld, portable UVC disinfection device designed to deactivate bacteria, viruses and fungi in spaces where traditional hard-mounted UVC fixtures are inconvenient to be mounted; and where portable devices have limited access.”

The flight deck is particularly suited for use of UVC cleaning since there are many areas that could potentially be damaged by traditional wipes and cleaning liquids. Indeed, United’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations, Bryan Quigley, noted this point, “Safety is our highest priority and we continue to research, test and roll out new technologies to keep our aircraft and terminals safe for both customers and crew.”

“Flight decks have many working parts, screens and components that are challenging to clean with traditional hand wipes and liquids, especially for someone who isn’t a pilot. The UVC lighting gives us a faster, more effective disinfection of one of the most important areas of the aircraft,” he continued.

The decision to use UVC to clean the flight decks on its aircraft came after consulting with the Cleveland Clinic. “United implementing UVC lighting in its flight decks is an important tactic because we know that the virus can be killed by ultraviolet light,” said Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic. “It’s one more measure that we can implement to ensure that we’re doing all we can to keep passengers, flight attendants and crews safer.”

In addition to cleaning flight decks with UVC, United is utilizing electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft cabins.

Jordan Green
Jordan Green
Related Stories

Leaked Wizz Air Meeting Highlights Company’s Apparent Pilot Redundancy Culture

An audio recording of an online meeting held in April 2020 has supposedly revealed how low-cost carrier Wizz Air decided…

LATAM Brasil to Phase Out A350-900 Fleet by Next Week

Still responding to the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international air travel, LATAM Airlines Brasil, Brazil's…

JetBlue Plans to Reshape Transatlantic Travel with London Service

JetBlue has announced its plans to change the transatlantic market when it begins its London service later this year. The…