Another study sees a low risk of Covid on flights, but the problem is local

Another study conducted in the US using scientific methodology has demonstrated the very low risk of spreading Covid on commercial flights. In fact, while the risk is small, it does exist, as other studies have shown. For travelers – especially international ones – it is not always important what is in heaven, but what happens on land.

The new study

This week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the publication of the results of the United States Transport Command (US Transcom) tests and confirmed the low risk of COVID-19 transmission on board an aircraft.

The test carried out in August found that “the overall risk of exposure to aerosol pathogens such as coronavirus is very low in the types of aircraft normally used to transport Department of Defense (DOD) personnel and their families.” More than 300 aerosol releases simulating a passenger infected with COVID-19 were made over eight days using Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 aircraft.

US Transcom tests showed that the aerosol was quickly diluted “by the high air exchange rates” of a typical aircraft cabin. The aerosol particles remained detectable for an average of less than six minutes. Both models of aircraft tested removed particulates 15 times faster than a typical home ventilation system and 5-6 times faster “than the recommended design specifications for modern hospital operations or patient isolation rooms”. The test was carried out with and without a mask for the simulated infected passenger.

The tests were carried out in collaboration with Boeing and United Airlines as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Zeteo Tech, S3i and the National Strategic Research Institute of the University of Nebraska.


No study is enough as long as passengers still feel unsafe. In this case, it’s not about uncertainty about the likelihood of contamination, but about the extent to which your trips may be affected by dissonant entry and exit regulations between countries. As we deal daily with aviation, resuming and canceling flights, opening and closing borders, we see how different the rules for entering and leaving countries are.

For example, negative PCR tests must be performed at different intervals before departure depending on the country. Some places have quarantine rules on arrival. others ask for forms and more forms; Not to mention the various cell phone applications that need to be installed and registered so that governments can monitor their quarantine or health status.

With all this uncertainty, only those who really need it for family, tourist or business reasons and / or are willing to comply with all the rules travel. However, many people will avoid taking a flight outside their country to avoid stress at a time that should be peaceful.

In the meantime, domestic flights are the alternative, and yet there are still uncertainties about waves of contamination, lockdowns and political battles that are keeping people away from airplanes as well.

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