Airshield reduces the spread of airborne particles on planes, making flying healthier for everyone onboard. Rose Dykins reports
Having acquired the technology from Seattle-based design company, Teague, Pexco fine-tuned the technology and took AirShield from concept to being a completed product that can enhance passengers’ wellbeing on commercial flights.
Following trials with several airlines, AirShield has been found to reduce shared air particles between neighbouring passengers by 76 per cent – more than doubling the rate at which the particles are expelled from the cabin and replaced by freshly purified air.
Installed over the top of existing passenger air vents, AirShield works in harmony with an aircraft cabin’s existing HEPA filtration systems in the aircraft cabin. It works by re-directing purified air around and in-between each passenger to create protective air barriers. This creates uniform airflow throughout the cabin, minimises the sharing of exhaled air, and increases the rate at which used air is removed.
Pexco’s AirShield has been proven to reduce both the spread of airborne particles and unwanted odours in the cabin, enhancing the onboard experience for all passengers – especially those in economy class. It is also 50 per cent quieter than standard air vents, and doesn’t change the temperature of the cabin nor the volume of air supplied compared with a traditional air vent.
Designed to be simple to manufacture and quick to install on an aircraft, AirShield is extremely lightweight. Its unique design comprises a three-piece clip-together assembly, and installation can be completed during overnight aircraft maintenance.
As the system does not affect passengers while entering or exiting from their seats – and is not located in the “head-strike zone” – there is no need for airlines to embark on expensive seat re-certification processes to install it. This means AirShield has the potential to be installed around the world this year.
With plane journeys returning to full capacity after Covid, and passengers no longer mandated to wear face masks onboard, some travellers are anxious about being in an aircraft cabin once again. While HVAC systems onboard commercial aircraft are already effective, AirShield offers an additional layer of protection from airborne germs of all kinds, as well as enhancing the inflight experience.
In an independent passenger opinion survey, 91 per cent of respondents said the presence of the AirShield tech makes them feel like an airline is taking care of them. And 89 per cent said they would feel more comfortable flying with AirShield post-pandemic, while 86 per cent also said they would choose to fly with an airline that had Pexco’s AirShield installed over one that did not.
Jon Page, president of Pexco Aerospace, said: “We all want our personal space to be protected from unwanted germs and smells when we fly, especially in economy class, and AirShield provides that. With mask wearing being phased out, it is the ‘virtual social distance’ the industry needs, providing every passenger with what they want most – a premium and personalised inflight experience.”
He added: “AirShield elevates the standard of passenger wellbeing to a new level at an important time for the airline industry – reinforcing its long-term commitment to ever-increasing levels of safety and comfort.
“The easy-to-install technology creates breathing zones that maximise the performance of the HEPA filtration system, without the need for airframe modifications or special tools required for installation. We have purposely designed AirShield this way to prevent any barriers to adoption and ensure our innovation can improve the flying experience for as many passengers as possible.”
Pexco’s AirShield is a finalist in the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards 2022 which celebrates ground-breaking innovation in the aviation industry. The technology is expected to be certified with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by July 2022.