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SIA applies self-disinfecting coating in planes as it prepares to carry more passengers
[SINGAPORE] Self-disinfecting coatings have been applied in the toilets as well as on the overhead storage compartments on Singapore Airlines (SIA) planes, as the carrier prepares to welcome more passengers on board.
The airline is also working with the authorities on Covid-19 testing protocols, with more details to be announced at a later date.
These come on top of earlier announced measures, such as a push towards using technology for a contactless journey, SIA told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Nov 17), ahead of the launch of the first air travel bubble flights to Hong Kong.
Senior vice-president of customer experience Yeoh Phee Teik said SIA has been collecting feedback about the concerns passengers have, in order to address them."We have also taken it upon ourselves to visualise the customer journey from end to end... and imagine that we are the customer turning up at the airport," he said. "All these inputs guide us on how we can keep stepping up our efforts to ensure - and to reassure our customers - it is safe to travel." SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong had previously listed several initiatives to improve safety for passengers, in an interview with ST in June.
These measures aim to cover the entire flight process, from going through immigration and boarding a plane, to disembarkation.
Most of the planned measures have been implemented, Mr Yeoh said on Tuesday.
For example, travellers can now access SIA's website to find out about Covid-19 travel restrictions and requirements in the cities that SIA flies to.
Passengers can also use their mobile phones to access SIA's in-flight menu and its digital library.
Other precautions that are required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, such as the compulsory wearing of masks and simplified meal service, remain in place.
Mr Yeoh said SIA will continue to work with regulators on the necessary safety requirements for flights during the pandemic.
He added that SIA is confident that all these measures will come together to create a safe environment for travellers to fly in.
He declined to reveal details about the number of crew and passengers who were infected with Covid-19 on SIA's flights, but cited studies which have shown that the risk of infection on board a plane is low."The high-efficiency particulate air filters, the refreshing of the air supply in the plane every two to three minutes, the seats acting as a barrier, passengers wearing masks... I think it is enough to make many passengers confident and assured to fly with SIA," he said.
While health experts have previously flagged plane toilets as an infection risk, given that there are commonly touched surfaces such as door handles and toilet flushes, Mr Yeoh said SIA has sought to address this.
On top of the antimicrobial coating applied on various surfaces, SIA's cabin crew wipe the toilet door handles with a disinfectant proven to kill the Covid-19 virus, he said.
When asked whether the cost of such additional measures will be passed on to passengers, Mr Yeoh said: "No, this health and safety protocol is a given from the passenger requirements standpoint."It is our duty to make sure that the journey they have with us is safe from the beginning to the end... it is a very integral part of the overall customer experience."
THE STRAITS TIMES