Private air travel has increased since the outbreak of Covid-19 so we speak to Kyle Patel, CEO of Palm Beach-based private jet company BitLux to discuss why the chances of contamination by the coronavirus in business aviation are much lower compared to its commercial counterpart...
Fewer touchpoints allow a safer flight
It is no secret that air is probably the means of transportation that offers the least chance of contamination regarding COVID-19. Various factors come into play, and the first that comes to mind is the efficient air filters and unique ventilation system on aircraft. Some private jets, for instance, has the air changed, completely, in less that one minute, with fresh air coming from the outside into a pressurized airplane, passing through a heating process where no microorganism would be able to survive.
Fewer points of contact make private aviation second to none in terms of potential virus exposure. It is known that during the regular commercial flight process there are numerous forms of contagion, from check-in, escalators to baggage collection. In private aviation those procedures do not exist and exposure to other passengers and staff is reduced considerably.
Private aviation as the safest way to travel during COVID-19
It is estimated that a regular commercial flying experience has roughly 600 contact areas, from arriving at the airport, boarding, the actual flight, disembarking, claiming luggage, and leaving the airport. In contrast, as reported by leading private jet provider BitLux, the points of potential exposure to the virus are reduced to between 15 to 20, thanks to a safer and swifter overall process that consists in arriving to the parking area of a private jet terminal and then going directly to a private lounge just steps away from the thoroughly sanitized private aircraft that will take you to your destination.
What is the real chance of exposure to the coronavirus on a private aircraft?
A recent study by the MIT evidenced that the risk of contagion with COVID-19 in aviation is low and almost nonexistent in the case of private flight. On a commercial flight, that chance you will get the virus is 1 in 4,300. With the middle seat empty, chances reduce to 1 in 7,700, although this option has been almost completely removed from consideration due to logistics and overall impact in revenue; in issuance the cost of implementation compared to the exposure reduction is not significant to justify the measure.
On a private jet, however, chances are between 20 to 30 times less, with an average of 1 in 80,000. The study considered diverse factors in the overall private jet process, firstly, the change of air in the cabin, with private jets take almost half that larger commercial aircraft to completely renew the air.
The second aspect was the boarding process, which is much safer and faster in business aviation and does not require the long list of procedures adopted in airports around the globe for commercial aviation. Interactions with other people are limited to the crew and private jet terminal employees, facts that explain why the estimated touchpoint on a standard private flight are roughly 20.
So, is it possible to catch COVID-19 on a private jet? It sure is, but chances are rather good that you will not. As good as 1 in 80,000, figures that probably position executive aviation as the safest means of transportations in the world today.