Emirates is attempting to wipe the fears of passengers worried about contracting Covid-19 while on-board planes in a new public relations campaign aimed at reinstating customer confidence in air travel.
In a message put out to passengers, Emirates said it is cleaning nearly 250 aircraft every day with each of its A380s being treated by a team of 36 specialist cleaners.
Passenger confidence and traffic has evaporated in recent weeks because of the virus outbreak and the impact on the biggest airlines is beginning to show.
Many passengers have opted to cancel their tickets because they are worried of contracting the virus during flights, leaving airlines around the world billions of dollars out of pocket. Others have chosen not to spend money on air tickets for fear of flights being cancelled and not refunded.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the global airline market could lose out on around $100 billion of sales as a result of the virus outbreak.
Airlines are scrambling to mitigate the impact and reduce their costs but so far few have taken an active approach to reinstating customer confidence.
The Dubai-based carrier is one of a handful to advise customers that it is taking additional measures to ensure aircraft cabins are clean and healthy environments. Companies like Gulf Air have released videos on social media targeting concerned passengers and explaining in detail the cleaning process.
As part of its additional measures, Emirates has implemented enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection of all cabins departing Dubai, the airline explained to customers.
The airline said it uses an approved chemical that is proven to kill viruses and leaves a long-lasting protective coating against new contamination of viruses. The cleaning process requires a team of 18 cleaners on a Boeing 777 and a team of 36 for an A380. In a 24-hour period on an average day, some 248 aircraft go through this process.
On any aircraft that were found to have transported a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 case, Emirates implements deep cleaning and disinfection in a process that takes between six to eight hours. The aircraft’s HEPA cabin air filters will also be replaced. HEPA cabin air filters remove 99.97% of viruses.
Emirates is also allowing customers to change their travel dates without fees. Loyalty schemes are also being adapted during the virus crisis to encourage regular passengers to continue flying.