Research

Probability and Estimated Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in the Air Travel System

Read the full report

Boeing's analysis determined the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is extremely low.

There's a 1 in 1.7 million chance of passengers contracting COVID-19 on a flight. That's according to new Boeing research, which analyzed the transmission risk for people throughout the air travel journey.

The finding is based on the best available contact tracing data and peer-reviewed research from medical publications and government sources. The study took into account the uncertainties in the number of asymptomatic passengers and underreporting of COVID-19 cases around the world.

Based on COVID-19 transmission rates, Boeing researchers found sitting near an infectious passenger does not necessarily equate to higher likelihood of getting sick. The cabin design and airflow system, coupled with other safeguards and precautionary measures, including passengers wearing masks and hand washing mitigate the risk of passenger-to-passenger transmission.

The research is part of Boeing's data-driven scientific and engineering approach to minimize air travel health risks and to enhance the safeguards already in place throughout the end-to-end travel journey. As part of its Confident Travel Initiative, Boeing is working with airlines, global regulators, industry stakeholders, and others throughout the air travel industry to ensure the health and safety of the air travel experience.

This research is being submitted for peer review by third parties and for publication in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, Boeing will continue to make additional internal studies publicly available on the Confident Travel Initiative website. These studies build on the research conducted by industry, academia and medical experts on the transmission and risks of COVID-19 throughout the travel journey.