“Planes eat the virus” as said by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula made people scoff and laugh at him. But, he’s certainly not the first person who suggested that. According to The South African, the Minister announced his belief in an address to the media on 29th June 2020. Minister Mbalula wants every domestic flight packed to 100% capacity.
‘Planes eat the virus’
“Planes eat the virus,” he noted, and suggested they differ from “taxis.” Then, Mr Mbalula mentioned that “the high-efficiency air (HEPA) filtration systems” remove most viruses from aeroplane cabins. HEPA filters particles with 99.97 % success according to Kaiser Health News. So, strictly speaking, the Minister adopted his view from reasonable sources.
BBC covered the fact that across the world, people in the aviation industry investigate the safety of flights. In their article, they note the same suggestion as Mbalula got argued. Jean-Brice Dumont, the “chief engineer at aerospace giant Airbus” spoke about it. He argues modern aircraft design means that “the air is intrinsically very clean.” In fact, he believes the airflow makes infection chances minimal. Actually, “Mathematically, all the air” gets “renewed” every few minutes.
Mbalula not wrong according to Canadian Health Officials
Canada cited a fifteen hour-long Guangzhou to Toronto flight of 350 passengers as proof that flying presents little danger. Incredibly, two passengers tested positive with COVID-19 but no one else on the flight developed the illness. However, Twitterati disagree.
In April, a mercy flight from Frankfurt to South Africa took hundreds of people home. People on board tested for COVID-19 after arrival. One traveller, S Guthrie says she wore a mask and used sanitiser on the flight. The passenger seated in front of her landed with a raging temperature, yet she remains healthy.
The Senior Vice President for safety at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Nick Careen says that he believes it unnecessary for “Physical distancing on board [planes].” It seems people contracting COVID-19 while out shopping presents a bigger threat.
South Africans rushing for plane tickets?
Perhaps South Africans avoid rushing onto planes right now. After all, schools reopen and the cancellation of the July holidays reduces the need for air travel. Meanwhile, businesses become adept at conducting meetings via online conferencing. Actually, more people seem concerned about obtaining legal cigarettes than worrying about air travel at all. Plus, other studies from 2018 indicate the possibility of viral spread exists after all. So, many people probably won’t risk it.
Are South Africans ready to fly? Would you? Have your say below.
Remember to check back with SANs Newsfeed often for more news about Africa.