JetBlue Airways has begun using a new system made by Honeywell that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect airplane cabins as part of a pilot program the airline said marks the first time a U.S. carrier has deployed the Phoenix-based company's technology. Clinical studies by Boston University and a consortium of Italian researchers have found that ultraviolet light applied at prescribed levels can “significantly” reduce certain viruses and bacteria. The Honeywell UV Cabin System can traverse an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes, and JetBlue said it will evaluate its place in its operation while continuing other cleaning methods.
"With the safety of our crewmembers and customers our first priority, JetBlue's Safety from the Ground Up initiative is maintaining a layered approach to safety by ensuring healthy crewmembers, providing flexibility, adding space, reducing touchpoints, and keeping surfaces clean and sanitized," said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue's president and chief operating officer in a statement. "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."
Honeywell has delivered eight of the devices to JetBlue, and the airline has begun putting the devices into service at two of its focus cities, namely John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. JetBlue chose the two locations to launch a 90-day pilot program to gauge the effectiveness of the Honeywell system.
"JetBlue took an immediate interest in this new product when we demonstrated it for them just a few weeks ago, and now JetBlue is receiving our first systems," said Mike Madsen, Honeywell Aerospace president and CEO. "We've ramped up production quickly on the UV Cabin System, and our company is working on a range of solutions to help make passengers more comfortable about flying."
About the size of an aircraft beverage cart, the Honeywell UV Cabin System uses UV-C light arms that extend over the top of seats and sweep the cabin to treat aircraft surfaces. Properly applied, UV-C lights can deliver doses that clinical studies have found sufficient to reduce bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV—the germ that causes Covid-19.