Finnair is installing High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on the recirculation system of its entire ATR turboprop fleet.

    It says that the HEPA air filtration system is the most effective technology for cleansing and purifying aircraft compartments air. The particulate filtration removes dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses and other irritating particles from the cabin air with an efficiency of 99.97 per cent. Finnair’s Airbus and Embraer aircraft are already fitted with HEPA filters, and now HEPA filters are available also for ATR aircraft.

    Finnair’s ATR fleet currently consists of twelve aircraft, operated by Finnair’s partner company Norra on short haul routes in domestic and regional traffic. The installations of the HEPA filters in the ATR fleet will begin in June and be completed by early 2022.

    “Taking good care of the health and safety of our customers and staff is always our highest priority. By introducing HEPA filters to our ATR fleet, we’ll be further raising the hygiene level in our ATR aircraft from an already high standard,” said Finnair technical operations’ vice-president, Juha Ojala.

    The cabin air changes every three minutes and thanks to efficient air ventilation and filtering, airplanes are an unlikely place to catch viruses. Fresh air is supplied from the overhead stowage compartment level and extracted at floor level, which means that there is no airflow forward or rearward along the cabin.

    ATR SVP of engineering, Stéphane Viala, added: “At ATR, we take the safety of our operators’ crews and passengers very seriously, and the air quality within the cabin has always been a core focus. Our aircraft was already safe to fly, and we are happy that we made it even safer with HEPA filters.”

    The in-flight infection risk can be reduced further with additional safety measures. Finnair requires all passengers older than seven to wear a mask. Finnair has also made several changes to its inflight service, which aim to reduce the contacts between cabin crew and customers, as well as unnecessary movement in the cabin. Moreover, authorities in many countries currently require travellers to have a negative coronavirus test result before travelling.