To fight the spread of coronavirus, Turkish Airlines is using internationally approved disinfection procedures for its aircraft, with some 500 already subjected to the procedure, the national flag carrier announced in a statement on Saturday.
Prioritizing the safety of its passengers, Turkish Airlines has so far suspended flights to Italy, Iran, Iraq, South Korea, China, and Nakhchivan, the places hardest hit by the virus, said the statement.
To date there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Turkey.
Along with the canceled flights, the aircraft are being disinfected with a chemical substance that has been tested in international laboratories by the World Health Organization (WHO), aircraft manufacturers, and international aviation officials.
The chemical is sprayed with a special device that disinfects the aircraft within 10 minutes and protects it against both viruses and bacteria. The process takes about 25 minutes and is executed by purification teams wearing protective equipment. The procedure is completed in coordination with both health and transportation units. So far, nearly 500 aircraft have been disinfected against the virus.
After each flight, textile products such as blankets and pillows are changed and washed at high temperatures.
Disinfection procedures are also applied to the shuttle buses that carry passengers at the airport to and from the aircraft.
“We take the most effective measures against the international spread of the virus. We apply disinfection processes on our aircraft which have been approved by international authorities and proven to be effective. The travel safety of our guests is always the priority,” said Yahya Ustun, Turkish Airlines senior vice president for media relations, on Twitter.
First detected in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to more than 80 countries.
The global death toll is nearing 3,500, with around 100,000 confirmed cases, according to WHO.
As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the hardest-hit countries such as China, Iran, and Italy.
After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency, the WHO later upgraded the global risk level to “very high.”
* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay ZonturAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.