MRO provider Aereos and its interior solutions division have partnered with the UK’s BioCote to create parts for business aircraft and airliner cabins, cockpits, and lavatories with built-in antimicrobial properties. Incorporating BioCote’s silver-ion antimicrobial technology, the germicide can be impregnated within leathers, most plastics, and some metal and aluminum parts, according to David Baker, an Aereos partner.
“We’re not spraying something onto a leather seat, it’s actually integrated,” he said. “If the surface is scratched or wears over time, [the antimicrobial] doesn’t wear off.”
The process is certified by Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point International, approved as food contact safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and certified as more than 99.8 percent effective against microbes by an independent laboratory.
Seat coverings and armrests in the cabin, and toilet shroud covers, seats, and vanities in the lavatory, are among the “high touch” parts that make good candidates for going antimicrobial, Baker said. “Once a passenger boards that aircraft, whether a business jet or a widebody, they’re bringing bacteria and other microbes with them. From the moment they sit down, these parts with antimicrobial additive never stop working to inhibit [pathogens].”
Aimed primarily at the Part 121 retrofit market, Dallas-based Aereos can also create protected parts for business aviation aircraft, working with any MRO or aftermarket outfitter. “It really starts with the design of the product,” said Baker. “If they have a leather interior and would like it to be antimicrobial, they can approach us for new seat covers.” Aereos promises “concept to delivery in as little as eight weeks.”
Like its other interiors products, the antimicrobial components are priced “like PMA parts. You’re looking at a significant cost reduction over OEM products,” he said, comparable to unprotected equivalent aftermarket options.
Baker said interest in the products “has increased significantly” since their recent introduction. “We were not working on antimicrobials prior to Covid,” he said. “We’re a solutions company, and our goal was to find a way to get customers to feel comfortable flying again.”