Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
820. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will ascertain the airlines that enter and leave Irish airports that use HEPA filters as standard in their aircraft and which do not (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10610/20]
The use of HEPA filters is a design feature related to the manufacturer of the specific aircraft type, for example a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 and not, per se, to specific airlines. It is my understanding that these High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor filters have been installed in all modern commercial jet aircraft for many years. For example, Airbus indicate they have been installed on new Airbus aircraft since 1994. Through communication at the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee, I understand that both the Ryanair and Aerlingus fleets are fitted with HEPA filters.
I am informed by the Irish Aviation Authority, that a small number of aircraft are unpressurised and continuously circulate fresh air in and out of the cabin, therefore would not typically have HEPA filters. IAA is unclear if any passenger aircraft have cabin re-circulation of air without a HEPA filter and is consulting with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to ascertain if any aircraft of this type are in use in Europe.
I wish to highlight that the air conditioning and the use of HEPA filters are part of a suite of measures that can ensure passengers are safe, and not exposed to the COVID-19 virus, while flying, as set out in the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control (ECDC) and EASA Guidance. The National Air Transport Facilitation Committee is coordinating the application of these measures by Irish airlines and airports through an agreed code of practice.