October | 2020
Study: Air on planes cleaner than in most homes
Chris Woodyard

A new study conducted for the Department of Defense adds credence to the growing belief that airline passengers face minimal risk of contracting coronavirus when flying.

The study found the risk of aerosol dispersion – transmission of the virus through the air – was reduced 99.7% thanks to high air exchange rates, HEPA-filtered recirculation and downward ventilation found on modern jets.

Investigators looked at the impact of an infected passenger on others seated in the same row and those nearby in the cabins of Boeing 767s and 777s. Those two aircraft types are widebodies typically used for long-haul flights where a virus would be expected to spread more easily.

To test the exposure risk for passengers sitting near an infected person, researchers released fluorescent tracer aerosols representing the droplets released by exhaling or coughing and looked at the impact on multiple “breathing zones” throughout the aircraft. In total, more than 11,500 breathing zone seat measurements were taken with releases from 46 different seats.

Asked about the report Thursday during a call with analysts and media, United CEO Scott Kirby said the results apply to other commercial jets as well.

“The reality is those tests are indicative of what happens on every airplane. An aircraft is just a remarkably safe environment.”

The study was conducted by a team that included members from United Airlines, Boeing, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, National Strategic Research Institute and research firms. It was prepared for two military agencies that move people and cargo, the U.S. Transportation Command and the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command.

The study is in keeping with the message that airlines have been trying to convey that HEPA filters and high turnover rates of airflow in passenger cabins reduce passenger exposure. In fact, the study found that contamination in the aircraft examined was less than what is found in private residences.

Kirby said with the airflow from ceiling to floor, “there is no place indoors that it is anywhere close to that” when it comes to limiting the spread. He urged other airlines to emulate United’s policy of making sure power units operate in a way that allows passengers to take advantage of aircraft ventilation systems while still at the gate.

“An aircraft is just a remarkably safe environment.” Scott Kirby, United CEO

He urged passengers to make sure that their overhead vents are fully open during their flights to maximize air circulation.

On most planes, the air exchange rate is approximately every three minutes and 75% comes from outside the plane, meaning that only 25% of cabin air is recirculated.

“The 767 and 777 both removed particulate 15 times faster than a home...and five to six times faster than recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms,” the study continued.

Tests were conducted by placing instruments that can measure particles in proximity to a simulated sick passenger. The study took masks into consideration, with a focus on the expectation passengers would be wearing surgical masks, the type most likely to be handed out by airlines in cases where passengers did not bring their own.

Studies are divided. Two studies published earlier this fall raised the prospect that the virus can spread between passengers, examining flights in which clusters of infections were reported.

It’s worth noting those studies involved flights that took place early in the pandemic. It was also unclear whether airlines had imposed some of the safety measures that later became adopted industrywide, such as mask requirements.
United Together
United's number one priority is the safety of their customers and employees.

Learn more about flexible options if you need to change or cancel travel plans and the steps they have taken to ensure your safety from before takeoff to after landing.

Kansas Driver's License Office Reopens in Salina:
Modern Space Leased from the Salina Airport Authority
The Kansas Department of Revenue is excited to announce that beginning Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Kansas drivers can visit its temporary Salina Driver's License Office. This office relocates the currently closed office to the Salina Airport Industrial Center, 2941 Centennial Road. 
"We understand the inconvenience that travel to another office has been for our customers," David Harper, Director of the Division of Vehicles, said. "We are thankful to local leaders for assisting us in bringing back service to Salina.”
The temporary office allows KDOR to offer all services it previously provided including commercial driver’s license exams. To visit the office, an appointment is required. Appointments can be made by calling 785-825-0321.
The Kansas Department of Revenue continues to encourage the use of mobile renewal with iKan. The iKan app can be downloaded from the Apple App or Google Play stores on your mobile device or by visiting iKan.ks.gov. By statute, some restrictions apply.
As a reminder, the REAL ID implementation date has been pushed back to October 1, 2021.
Feature Facility

Building 313
2934 Arnold Avenue

Located in the heart of the Airport Industrial Center, the SAA's Building 313 is move in ready and right-sized for a business or organization needing a shop and/or warehouse space along with offices. This facility located at 2934 Arnold Ave. contains a total of 11,885 Sq. Ft. of space.

Call the Salina Airport Authority today at 785-827-3914 to schedule a tour or email
shellis@salair.org for more information. 
Tower Update

The Air Traffic Manager turnover in August was a smooth transition that decreased the facility’s staffing by one a shortage that the controller nucleus has had to make up for since. A prospect is in mind to fill our vacancy but is currently working abroad with Midwest ATC under contract in Afghanistan and is not scheduled to arrive until this December.

Although short staffed, Salina’s Air Traffic Control Team flawlessly handled the additional work Jaded Thunder brought to town in September with an increased military presence at the Salina Regional Airport amidst COVID-19. The mission, lasting only two weeks and adding over 1,400 operations, was a complete success – providing controllers and surrounding citizens an everyday taste of an airshow with high-speed mixed with slower less maneuverable aircraft and with maybe a little more noise.

The remaining September days brought a higher than normal level of flight school students from Kanas State University taking to the skies steadily improving our overall traffic count. Additionally, crews from the FAA’s local maintenance team have been out in full force making improvements to NAVAIDS and airport equipment essential to the flying community.

Overall, communication among all work groups is up, and steady progress is being made to overcome any shortcomings that may have been seen thus far with the 2020 pandemic. Keep your chins up …

Be Safe, Be Vigilant, and Fly Often!

Scott Hillegeist
Air Traffic Manager
Salina (SLN) FCT
Available Properties
Support K-State AAAE Student Chapter - Wednesday, October 21st
On the Flightline at America's Fuel Stop
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