The Covid-19 lockdown presented a unique challenge for Ryanair’s engineers. With European skies eerily quiet as the aviation industry ground to a halt, Ryanair’s Director of Engineering, Karsten Muehlenfeld had to come up with a plan to maintain its fleet of 460 Boeing and 20 Airbus 320 aircraft.
Usually, Ryanair operates more than 2,500 flights a day, and engineers inspect planes overnight before they are flown. However, EU wide flight restrictions created complications for the engineering team – a passenger plane cannot be left idle for 3 months; its mechanics and operating systems need to be inspected on a regular basis.
To maintain the fleet, Ryanair’s engineering team conducted visual inspections every two days and flew the aircraft every fortnight, ensuring all systems were operating to the highest standard.
With Ryanair’s return to flying on 1 July, another priority was to ensure the air-quality in the aircraft cabins by installing high efficient particulate air (HEPA) filters on all Ryanair aircraft. HEPA filters are designed to remove more than 99% of airborne microbes from the cabin, including SARs-CoV-2 droplets, and to continuously clean the air onboard. As a result, the air in the cabin is comparable with the sterile environment of a hospital operating theatre.
Ryanair’s aircraft are also thoroughly cleaned daily with a fluid that makes sure bacteria and viruses such as Covid-19 cannot sustain on any seat surfaces and overhead compartments. The disinfectant used is effective for more than 24 hours.
The Ryanair engineering team work around the clock to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew on board all Ryanair flights, and thanks to their dedication during lockdown, Ryanair’s fleet is back flying again to the highest safety standards.
Karsten Muehlenfeld, Ryanair’s Director of Engineering says:
“At Ryanair, the COVID-19 lockdown presented the engineering team with many challenges. We thought a lot about how to maintain our aircraft to the highest safety standards – this included visual inspections every 2 days as well as test flights every fortnight to ensure all their systems were operating correctly.
We made sure all our aircraft were fitted with HEPA filters, which remove 99% of airborne particles, including SARs-CoV-2 droplets. Our cabins are also cleaned daily, with a fluid that ensures bacteria and viruses cannot sustain on surfaces. This disinfectant is effective for more than 24 hours.
As we return to the skies, we look forward to flying Ryanair passengers across Europe on our state-of-the-art aircraft which operate to the highest health and safety standards.”