The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it has authorized a “first-of-its-kind step” to issue the State of Texas an emergency exemption to allow American Airlines to use a new product, SurfaceWise2, to disinfect surface areas.
The EPA says that the new product kills coronavirus on surfaces for up to seven days.
“After carefully reviewing the available data and information, the agency has determined that the product helps to address the current national emergency,” said the agency in a statement.
“This product is expected to provide longer-lasting protection in public spaces, increasing consumer confidence in resuming normal air travel and other activities.”
American Airlines chief operating officer David Seymour said the product “will make the travel experience even safer for those who are ready to return to the skies and reopen our country for business.”
The product was created by Allied BioScience. Over the coming months, Allied BioScience will pursue a non-emergency approval under FIFRA Section 3 by submitting additional data to meet EPA’s registration requirements as an antiviral surface coating. If the full registration process is completed, the product would become available for purchase by members of the public.
The EPA says that the product will be used on selected planes and “specific airline locations” in Texas. Business Traveler USA reached out to the EPA to ask why the product was being pushed through for use only in Texas, but at press time has received no response.
As fliers are aware, touch surfaces in flight are not the only way for COVID-19 to spread. Mask-wearing and social distancing, both problematic especially on flights where middle seats are not being blocked, are increasingly the cause of inflight brawls and flights being turned back for non-compliance.
On a recent flight out of Las Vegas, an American Airlines customer who refused to wear a mask, got into a fist fight with another passenger on a full flight getting ready to depart. The passenger was removed and remanded to law enforcement.