If ionisation purification technology is the new future for effective and efficient cabin environment decontamination, what is the overall cost for airlines?

In this article, we are going to deep dive into the cost of implementing this new technology, versus what it currently costs airlines to implement new safety and decontamination protocols.

The new technology, new investment cost

As we covered previously, the needlepoint bi-polar ionisation technology (NPBI™) developed by Aviation Clean Air is an effective and efficient method of neutralising viral and bacterial contamination in both airborne and surface environments. It effectively closes the division between automated cabin-air purification systems and manual decontamination procedures.

The ROI potential for implementing this technology is surprisingly high, as the upfront installation of the NPBI™ units is relatively simple—with cost contingencies only hanging on whether the aircraft requires air duct modification or replacement.

Once installed, the NPBI™ units have a 87,530 hour mean time between repair (MTBR), meaning there will be no need for further investment in maintenance, repair or technician training.

How does NPBI™ work?

Needlepoint bi-polar ionisation technology™ works by leveraging an electronic charge to create a high concentration of positive and negative ions. These ions travel through the air continually seeking out and attaching to particles, setting in motion a continuous pattern of particle combination. As these particles become larger, they are eliminated from the air with increased speed. Additionally, positive and negative ions have microbicidal effects on pathogens, ultimately reducing the infectivity abilities of viruses and bacterial pathogens. 

The cost of current stop-gap solutions

Current safety and cleanliness protocols are an effective stop-gap means of mitigating the risks of community spread of COVID-19 throughout the cabin. However, these measures are drastically increasing airline operational costs while decreasing revenue. So the question is whether they are sustainable, and are they a future-proof solution.

Addressing cabin air in the world of unseen elements

Let’s look at the approximate yearly costs of deep cleaning of a narrow-body aircraft after every flight. We will assume these parameters:

  • A cleaning time of 30 minutes
  • An average of 150 seating narrow-body capacity
  • An average passenger seat cost of $379

Doing the math based on those averages, an airline can expect revenue losses of $56,850 a day per aircraft—or slightly over $20 million (USD) per year.

Now let’s add a bit of insult to injury.

Maintaining social distance is one of the chief concerns of many would-be passengers. So if we block the middle seats on that same theoretical narrow-body aircraft, we bring the maximum load capacity down to 66%—well below the 77% break-even threshold.

On average this would be a reduction of around 200 passenger seats per day. Assuming the same passenger seat cost of $379, that adds up to an additional revenue loss of $26 million per year—bringing an average net revenue loss per aircraft to $46 million (USD) per year, per aircraft.

What are the cost considerations to achieve a contaminate-free cabin environment?

More cost-sustainable solutions

It’s clear to see that these procedures are not sustainable for establishing recovery to the airline industry. Unfortunately, as things currently stand, many of the protocols mentioned above will need to continue for the foreseeable future, until public trust in cabin environment safety is somewhat re-established.

However, making investments in new technologies like ionisation purification that can further reduce the need for aircraft deep-cleaning can reduce these losses in revenue. In addition, they provide future-proof stability to airlines as we move out of this pandemic, by safeguarding passengers and crew from further infectious disease threats.