Insignia face covering

Colour changing ‘smart labels’ ensure face masks keep passengers safe in the skies

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Insignia face covering

Technology that will alert users to the need to replace their face mask has been unveiled by smart packaging company, Insignia Technologies.

Designed to encourage safer mask practice while bringing peace of mind to the public, Insignia’s smart label changes colour to indicate when a disposable face mask has reached the end of its recommended lifespan or when a re-usable mask requires to be changed.

As COVID-19 cases rise in countries around the world, face masks are now part of everyday life, with requirements in place for people to wear them in public spaces including onboard aircraft. However, little attention has been given to whether people are changing their masks regularly enough.

Whilst the recommended maximum time to wear a mask is dependent upon a number of factors, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine has published its recommendation – typically between four to six hours – alongside recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE).

Face masks and coverings are now a mandatory part of travel, with many airlines requiring passengers to wears masks during flights and when in airports. Despite major carriers such as British Airways requesting that passengers change their mask every four hours, there is little regulation in place to monitor compliance and ensure both airlines and travellers are wearing masks that are still safe for use.

Insignia’s solution provides an additional level of reassurance to both passengers and flight attendants, reminding mask wearers to change their masks regularly and ensuring that the safety of all parties remains the top priority.

Founded in 2012, Insignia Technologies’ smart labels are used across the food and drink sector. With an estimated 18 million tonnes of edible food sent to landfill in the UK each year, Insignia set out on a mission to reduce food waste by developing a label that uses smart pigment technology to change colour over time to show how long a packet of food has been open.

When COVID-19 hit the UK, Insignia’s team of scientists redeveloped its label technology so that it could be suitable for application on face masks.

Dr Graham Skinner, Product Development Manager at Insignia Technologies, said: “We modified our labels so that they fit the recommended time frames given for effective mask use. The label sits on the outside of the face mask and changes colour to indicate when the end of the recommended time has been reached, providing an easy to use visual reminder and marker of reassurance.”

David Kilshaw, CEO of Insignia Technologies, said: “We want to educate mask users of the importance of following recommended guidelines when it comes to face masks. The travel industry has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, and now passengers and crew are required to wear masks in airports and for the duration of their flight. With these requests in place, it’s important that both passengers and airline workers remember to change their masks regularly to ensure they continue to practice safe mask use. By including our innovative label technology on masks, we can ensure that PPE is being used responsibly and isn’t being worn for too long, or thrown away too quickly.”

Etihad Engineering is manufacturing face masks

Etihad Engineering opens in-house face mask production facility

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Etihad Engineering has secured an order for 1.3 million facemasks to be manufactured at its newly established in-house face mask production facility.

Over the next three months, the medical face masks will be distributed to staff across the entire Etihad Aviation Group from cabin and ground crew, to catering, cargo, engineering employees, and medical professionals.

The new facility operates fully automated cutting-edge machines that produce up to 20,000 masks daily. The masks are three layered and provide up to 98% filtration which ensures the highest levels of protection and safety. The machine has nose and earlobe welding capabilities to design masks that provide full facial coverage to ensure daily protection for anyone wearing it. A heat stamp feature also prints logos on the face mask, making it customisable for any organisation. Masks can be produced in a variety of colours.

Before initiating mass production, prototypes of the mask underwent a series of stringent tests where microbial cleanliness and bacterial filtration efficiency levels were thoroughly examined. After the successful completion of the testing phase, the face masks were medically certified by two certifying bodies, Laboratorio Analisi Tecnal (Italy) and CNTAC (China).

Haytham Nasir, Vice President Airframe Services, Etihad Engineering said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we witnessed consistent demand for face masks at the workplace. With the safety, health and wellbeing of our customers and employees our paramount concern and top priority, we saw an opportunity to be self-sufficient. To provide the highest level of protection, this new facility not only meets our internal demands but we can also mass produce for third-party customers, partners, and suppliers”.

WestJet has unveiled its travel hygiene program under the Safety Above All umbrella, highlighting what guests can expect when travelling to ensure their health and safety.

WestJet introduces zero-tolerance mask policy

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WestJet has unveiled its travel hygiene program under the Safety Above All umbrella, highlighting what guests can expect when travelling to ensure their health and safety.

The WestJet Group, which incorporates WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop, has updated its safety policies.

From 1 September 2020, the WestJet Group will implement a zero-tolerance policy in support of the requirement for all guests, over the age of two, to wear masks and face coverings. Non-compliant guests will face penalties including denied boarding, return of the aircraft to the gate to offload the passenger and the suspension of travel on any WestJet Group aircraft for up to one year.

“Canadian travellers and all of our WestJet Group employees are counting on us to keep them safe and it is our utmost priority to do so,” said Ed Sims, The WestJet Group President and CEO. “Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying. This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”

Non-compliance on board the aircraft will be managed through a three-step process:

  • Passengers will first be asked to put the mask on in a discussion with cabin crew.
  • Passengers will be given a warning that masks are required, and compliance is necessary.
  • Passengers will receive notice that non-compliance will result in follow up notification that they will be placed on a no-fly list for 12-months.

Additionally, effective 1 September 2020, the input of contact information for those travelling on WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop will become mandatory at the 24-hour check-in process online and at kiosks. Mandatory information at WestJet check-in kiosks will be phased into the policy change by the end of September.

Once implemented, guests will no longer be able to bypass the information screen and will be required to input up-to-date information prior to the issuance of a boarding pass. It is the responsibility of the traveller to provide accurate information.

Austrian crew member wearing a mask

Lufthansa Group permits passengers with health conditions to fly mask free

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Austrian crew member wearing a mask

From 1 September, the Lufthansa Group airlines (Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, SWISS)  is allowing those with health conditions to fly mask-free upon presentation of a medical certificate. Passengers will be able to download the document from the retrospective airlines’ websites. In addition, passengers must also present a negative COVID-19 test, taken no longer than 48 hours prior to departure. This ensures maximum safety for the passengers travelling with them.

Children under the age of six continue to be exempt from the wearing a face mask.

Lufthansa Group’s General Conditions of Carriage (GTC) will in future stipulate that anyone with a known or positive COVID-19 infection are not permitted to board the aircraft.

“We have always emphasised that safety is our top priority, especially in the age of COVID-19, and a mask is the simplest and most effective protection against transmission,” commented Austrian Airlines COO Jens Ritter. “The majority of our passengers comply with the rules in an exemplary manner. With the current change, we are taking an additional step towards greater health protection on the aircraft.”

Eithad microbeBARRIER kit from BUZZ

Etihad Airways introduces premium protection

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Eithad microbeBARRIER kit from BUZZ

Etihad Airways has launched new protective wear for First and Business class guests, as part of its new health and hygiene programme, Etihad Wellness.

Premium passengers will receive a complimentary snood style facemask made from lightweight, breathable and stretchy jersey fabric.

The snood can be worn around their neck like a scarf and when near others, pulled up over their mouth and nose to protect themselves and those around them.

The soft reusable snood has been treated with MicrobeBARRIER fabric treatment, a broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment, laboratory tested and proven to reduce the presence of germs in fabrics.

Masked Charlotte Dodson mediating

FLYWELL promotes breathing techniques for mask wearers

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Masked Charlotte Dodson mediating

In response to current in-flight mask-wearing requirements, travel wellness platform FLYWELL is promoting breathing techniques that allows passengers to enjoy a peaceful and stress-free air travel experience.

According to Dr Jacques Durand, Aviation Medical Specialist and Digital Health Expert, “wearing a mask (without proper breath training) for more than one hour could induce significant deoxygenation of the body. The amplitude of deoxygenation of the body in a plane is higher even with a pressured cabin because of the altitude. Wearing a mask in a plane for more than 60 minutes can lead to minor health issues (mostly for people under the age of 35 with some chronic medical conditions). Even those without medical issues, low oxygen in the body can increase discomfort and generate additional stress for passengers.”

Some masks can cause the wearer to inhale and exhale more rapidly (or hyperventilate), upsetting the physiological balance and causing the body to remove carbon dioxide faster than it is being produced. This reduces the efficiency with which oxygen is delivered to vital organs. The shortened breathing cycle also means that the ventilation process is coming from the upper part of the lungs, thus requiring the use of neck and chest muscles (rather than the diaphragm) and, in turn, making it more difficult to mentally relax.

Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which evokes feelings of serenity and relaxation. Most of us are used to constantly being ‘stuck’ in shallow breathing, especially when we are under stress. When we consciously exercise the diaphragm, it can stretch further down towards the belly, which gives the lungs more space to expand and draw in the air we breathe.

Co-founder and Ambassador of FLYWELL, Charlotte Dodson, says, “although we are all capable of breathing correctly, very few of us do so in our everyday lives. Something that’s so fundamental, health-wise, to every aspect of our mental, physical and emotional lives is, for most people, an unknown principle. Thankfully, there are several simple and effective strategies to quickly train oneself in the art of tapping into the power of proper breath work.”

Qatar Airways has introduced new personal protective equipment (PPE) for customers and cabin crew, including face shields and protective kits to all passengers, and a new protective gown for cabin crew.

Qatar Airways introduces new onboard PPE for passengers and crew

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Qatar Airways has introduced new personal protective equipment (PPE) for customers and cabin crew, including face shields and protective kits to all passengers, and a new protective gown for cabin crew.

Qatar Airways has introduced new personal protective equipment (PPE) for customers and cabin crew, including face shields and protective kits to all passengers, and a new protective gown for cabin crew.

The disposable face shield is available in two standard sizes – one for adults and one for children. The children’s face shields feature the airline’s Oryx Kids Club mascots as part of their design. Passengers travelling from Hamad International Airport (HIA) will receive their face shields at the check-in counters, whereas at other destinations, the face shields will be distributed at the boarding gates.

Children under two years of age are not advised to wear face shields and face masks or coverings. During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear their face mask or covering as well as the face shield.

Onboard, all Qatar Airways passengers will be provided with a complimentary protective kit inside a ziplock pouch containing a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel. Business Class customers are also offered an additional 75 ml sanitiser gel tube.

Qatar Airways has also introduced new disposable protective gowns for cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask. The new branded gowns are personalised with Qatar Airways’ logo imprinted on the top left corner.

As easyJet prepares to restart limited flights from 15 June, the airline has partnered with Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, to launch a new range of new comic book inspired face mask covers for children over six.

easyJet to hand out comic book inspired face mask covers

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As easyJet prepares to restart limited flights from 15 June, the airline has partnered with Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, to launch a new range of new comic book inspired face mask covers for children over six.

As easyJet prepares to restart limited flights from 15 June, the airline has partnered with Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, to launch a new range of new comic book inspired face mask covers for children over six.

The new comic book face mask covers have been designed to help ease the experience for both kids and parents. Two character themed ‘Lion’ and ‘Pilot’ masks will be made available for free.

The airline stresses that the face mask covers don’t replace the need for a mask to be worn but have been designed as a covering to be worn over the top of a younger traveller’s own face mask. They can be taken home to keep and are washable for re-use.

Captain David Morgan, easyJet’s Director of Flight Operations commented: “We have teamed up with a comic illustrator to create some bespoke children face masks covers as we know the airport environment could feel different and possibly daunting for younger travellers when flying initially resumes. So, we hope these face mask covers help children enjoy flying with us over the summer and this makes things a little easier for parents too.”

Will Sliney said: “Flying with face masks is going to a new experience for everyone, especially young children so I hope these fun designs, inspired by comic book characters, help to encourage kids to wear their masks onboard.

“I have used a combination of a lion animal character and a futuristic pilot to create a set of mask covers to bring out the inner superhero in all young flyers.

“As a parent myself I know how tricky traveling can be, so I hope these fun face masks covers can help make things easier for parents too.”

Cathay Pacific latest to require passengers wear face masks

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Cathay Pacific has become the latest airline to make the wearing of face masks mandatory, where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

From 15 May 2020, passengers are required to wear face masks in situations where they cannot maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from others, or as directed by airline employees. This includes during check-in; in lounges; during boarding; in the aircraft cabin; and during disembarkation.

Passengers who are unable to tolerate a face mask, including young children, are exempt from this requirement.

Passengers are asked to bring their own appropriate face mask, either cloth or disposable, to wear throughout their journey.

This face mask requirement will remain mandatory until further notice.

Etihad staff wearing 3D-printed masks

Etihad Engineering produces face masks using 3D printing

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Etihad staff wearing 3D-printed masks

Etihad Engineering, the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) division of Etihad Aviation Group has collaborated with Etihad Airways Medical Centre (EAMC), the airline’s medical division, to produce face shields that will be provided to medical institutions across the United Arab Emirates, as part of the airline’s corporate social responsibility programme.

Using the latest 3D-printing technology, the engineering organisation has designed and developed a face shield to protect medical professionals from contracting the novel-coronavirus (COVID-19). The Etihad team carried out an extensive review of the functional requirements of the face mask to produce a final design that provides the safety, comfort and durability required by medical professionals. This research and development resulted in a non-disposable headpiece which rests on the forehead and is combined with a detachable transparent shield that can be easily removed for sanitisation or replacement purposes.

Created at Etihad Engineering’s 3D printing lab, the face shields are produced by an aviation-certified 3D printer that uses the latest selective laser sintering (SLS) technology which normally produces aircraft parts. The shields are made entirely from recyclable material making it a sustainable product, and the printer can produce approximately 42 pieces per day.

Dr. Nadia Al Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services at Etihad Aviation Group said: “On behalf of the entire Etihad Aviation Group, we would like to send out a gesture of solidarity and support to all medical institutions and their teams in our community, by providing them with face shields developed especially for them.

“We are very fortunate to have access to innovative technology within the Etihad Group and when it came to testing the prototypes by EAMC doctors, they confirmed the shields were fit for medical use. Our ultimate objective is to provide medical professionals with an additional layer of protection when working hard to combat COVID-19.”

Etihad Airways Medical Centre will be working with medical institutions across the UAE to provide the reusable face masks to practitioners on the front line.