BAE Systems has joined forces with Cheshire-based Quest International UK to introduce a new active cabin air management system which it says is a radical improvement on present systems.
Named “AirManager”, the system can reportedly eliminate all airborne viruses and bacteria and will set a new standard for clean air on board passenger and cargo aircraft.
BAE Systems has engineered and obtained full European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the installation of the new system on its BAe 146/Avro RJ airliners.
The company has also signed an agreement with Quest International UK to act as authorised distributor for worldwide AirManager sales to airlines for an initial five-year period.
Trials involving Boeing 757 airliners are already underway after BAE Systems designed and secured a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for use on this aircraft.
STC designs for other aircraft types will be determined in line with market demand, with initial efforts expected to focus on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 airliners.
Sean McGovern, Operations Director of BAE Systems` Regional Aircraft business, says the technology comes at “a time when there is increasing concern about the transmission of infections on aircraft” as well as a continued debate about the quality of air on board aircraft.
“There are also potential fuel savings, as AirManager allows the air conditioning system to operate more effectively. We believe this saving will at least cover the purchase cost in the first year,” McGovern adds.
The patented AirManager uses a revolutionary Close Coupled Field Technology (CCFT) – a contained and safe electrical field that eliminates smells, and breaks down and destroys airborne pathogens, contaminants and toxins.
David Hallam, inventor of the technology and director of Quest International UK, says the “main strength of this technology is its ability to destroy a wide range of contaminants very quickly. It achieves a single-pass kill rate of 99.999% of bio-hazards and remove particles down to below 0.1 micron,* equivalent to a single particle of cigarette smoke.
“Our active air treatment system provides far greater reduction of airborne contaminants to than achieved by conventional passive High Efficiency Particulate Arrest filters. The AirManager system maintains its superiority over other new technology air purification systems by virtue of its broad spectrum of operation – it is not just a point solution to a point problem.”
BAE Systems has already tested the new technology on the flight deck and cabin air systems on eight aircraft in service with five European airlines.
The company has received positive feedback from all operators involved, McGovern adds.
He says installation of the system is easy and can be achieved during overnight line maintenance. Replacement of the units will be carried out at ‘C` Check intervals when the unit is exchanged for a new one and the old unit is sent for overhaul at a service centre.
Quest`s AirManager system was initially developed for use in the health sector and some 5000 units have been supplied to hospitals, nurseries, veterinary premises and quarantine centres.