American Airlines this week announced that it has scored emergency approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a new anti-microbial that is effective for up to seven days, the longest-lasting surface disinfectant ever approved by the EPA.
The disinfectant, which is called SurfaceWise2, will kill viruses and bacteria for up to a week after application and American plans to start using it on its planes as a way to both keep its travelers safe and to boost consumer confidence to help bring passengers back (this Sunday’s TSA air passenger numbers reached over 800,000, compared to the 2.43 million passengers who went through security checkpoints on Aug. 23, 2019).
American will start electrostatic spraying SurfaceWise2 on surfaces inside its cabins throughout its entire fleet “in the coming months,” it said. The spray will not replace regular cleaning or other measures that American has taken up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it will be in addition to what the airline has already been doing, which includes a hand-cleaning of seat buckles, seats, tray tables, and other surfaces, and a general cabin disinfection at every turn.
“Our multitiered program will become even stronger at safeguarding our customers and team members from virus such as coronavirus and the flu,” American COO David Seymour said.
American, along with its competitors and partners inside the airline industry, is still struggling with a loss of demand for travel as COVID-19 continues to have a strong impact. American recently confirmed that it would suspend its service to 15 U.S. airports in October after CARES Act Requirements end, as travel demand continues to come back slower than expected.
Over 700 American flights from 15 airports will stop on Oct. 7. Those airports include Del Rio, Texas; Dubuque, Iowa; Florence, South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia; Joplin, Missouri; Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan; Lake Charles, Louisiana; New Haven, Connecticut; New Windsor, New York; Roswell, New Mexico; Sioux City, Iowa; Springfield, Illinois; and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
In a statement announcing the news, American called the cuts “the first step” in evaluating “its network and plans for additional schedule changes in the coming weeks.”