JetBlue is testing a new robot that uses ultraviolet light to clean and disinfect the inside of its planes. The airline has eight of the robots and is sending them to airports around the country, including John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
The robots are made by Honeywell and are about the size of a beverage cart. It takes around ten minutes for the robot to thoroughly disinfect the cabin. It is capable of killing the coronavirus, even in hard to reach places.
"It applies UVC light in a very consistent way to all the surfaces inside the airplane -- the overhead bins, the seats, the armrest, and the window shades," Mike Madsen, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace, said.
The airline said it is important to assure travelers that their planes are clean and that it is safe to fly. The robots will not replace their current cleaning protocols, which include multiple cleanings between each flight, plus a deep cleaning every night.
"The coronavirus has changed how we all look at health, how we all look at safety and how we all look at hygiene," Joanna Geraghty, president and COO of JetBlue, said in an interview with ABC News. "I think this is something that is important, customers on board an aircraft knowing that it's clean, that it's safe, and that it's healthy air."
Geraghty said if the pilot program is successful, they will consider making the robots part of their standard cleaning protocols in the future.
"Our focus right now is clean air and surfaces," Geraghty said. "We think this is going to be something that's important for customers in the years to come."
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