• Joe Breitfeller

Boeing and the University of Arizona Turn up the Heat to Destroy COVID-19 of the Flight Deck

In collaboration with the University of Arizona, Boeing is putting the age-old thermal disinfection treatment to the test on hard to clean fight deck equipment. Results indicate that 99.99% of the virus can be destroyed after three hours at 50 degrees Celsius.


Boeing's Corporate Headquarters, Chicago - Courtesy Boeing

On Tuesday (December 15, 2020), Boeing announced the results of a study conducted in collaboration with the University of Arizona on the effectiveness of the age-old thermal disinfection technique in combatting COVID-19 on the flight deck. Researches validated the effectiveness of the process in the elimination of COVID-19 on hard-to-clean flight deck surfaces with over 99.99% of the virus destroyed after three hours exposure at 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). The study also indicated that over 99.9% of the virus can be killed after three hours at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). In Tuesday’s announcement, Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative Leader, Michael Delaney, said,


“Passenger and crew safety are our top priorities — that extends from the cabin to the flight deck. Thermal disinfection could deliver another valuable tool to destroy COVID-19 on sensitive and difficult-to-reach components that protect pilots.”


Also commenting on the successful study, University of Arizona’s Microbiologist and Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Charles Gerba, added,


“We're basically cooking the virus. Thermal disinfection is one of the oldest ways to kill disease-causing micro-organisms. It's used by microbiologists in our laboratory every day.”


Boeing completed the testing in a protected laboratory environment at the university using flight deck parts and the COVID-19 virus as part of their CTI effort to support customers in the protection of passengers and crews during the pandemic. With sensitive electronic equipment, the flight deck is one of the most challenging areas to clean with traditional chemical disinfectants. The equipment is designed to withstand temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes thermal disinfection a practical sanitization solution. The video below, courtesy of Boeing, details the flight deck thermal disinfection process.



Boeing (NYSE:BA) is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading supplier of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, as well as global services. The aerospace giant tops the list of the largest U.S. exporters, providing a significant positive impact to America’s annual GDP. Boeing supports government and commercial customers in over 150 countries and employs more than 160,000 team members worldwide. As Boeing continues to deliver for customers, they are committed to their legacy of aerospace leadership in technology and innovation and will continue investing in their people for future growth.



Source: Boeing