As the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation industry, implementation of various innovations in the aircraft has accelerated as well. Even before the pandemic, global conversations about hygiene had already been launched about one specific part of the aircraft that nobody wanted to touch. Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced the beginning of testing a new innovation that should increase the level of hygiene inflight.
Passengers have become hyper-aware of everything they come into contact with, which led ANA to begin testing out a new way to minimize the contact among customers. The airline is reportedly testing a new type of lavatory door that passengers can open with their elbow or forearm to minimize the hand contact, according to CNN.
During the development of the innovation, as the carrier states, one of the challenges of designing anything for an airplane is the lack of space. The main concept of innovation was created by the JAMCO Corporation, a Japanese company that specializes in such product manufacturing for the aviation industry as galleys and its inserts, seats, flight deck consoles and doors,and lavatories. Generally, in order to reduce aisle blockage to minimum, lavatory doors open inward or have small flat handles instead of doorknobs. However, on the ANA’s prototype, the familiar silver latch lavatory door handle now has a spring attached to it. Thus, the passenger could open it by pressing in instead of by pulling out.
As well as on the outside, the locking mechanism inside the lavatory looks familiar because it has a button you slide from one side to the other. Passengers will be able to lock and unlock the larger sized button with their elbow. This little innovation will completely ensure hands-free door opening and closure from the both sides of it.
All Nippon Airways has put a toilet with the new doorknob for trial in a lounge at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and is asking passengers to try it out. pic.twitter.com/NOasz6l7ql
— NHK WORLD News (@NHKWORLD_News) August 21, 2020
Currently, All Nippon Airways is presenting the latest prototype of the lavatory door in the carrier’s lounge at Tokyo Haneda Airport, where the air carrier is receiving feedback on the product. If the design proved popular and easy to use, it could get more widespread use, asserted spokesman of ANA for CNN.
According to the official carrier’s website, the airline has also announced a new “ANA Care Promise” cleanliness program that consists of new hygiene measures including the same quality as in the hospital operating rooms, including on-board air filters and regular disinfection of every surface on the plane.