Indoor air quality investigation on commercial aircraft

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Sixteen flights had been investigated for indoor air quality (IAQ) on Cathay Pacific aircraft from June 1996 to August 1997. In general, the air quality on Cathay Pacific aircraft was within relevant air quality standards because the average age of aircraft was less than 2 years. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on all flights measured were below the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standard (30,000 ppm). The CO2 level was substantially higher during boarding and de-boarding than cruise due to low fresh air supply. Humidity on the aircraft was low, especially for long-haul flights. Minimum humidity during cruise was below the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) minimum humidity standard (20%). The average temperature was within a comfortable temperature range of 23±2°C. The vertical temperature profile on aircraft was uniform and below the International Standard Organization (ISO) standard. Carbon monoxide levels were below the FAA standard (50 ppm). Trace amount of ozone detected ranged from undetectable to 90 ppb, which was below the FAA standard. Particulate level was low for most non-smoking flights, but peaks were observed during boarding and de-boarding. The average particulate level in smoking flights (138 μg/m3) was higher than non-smoking flights (7.6 μg/m3). The impact on IAQ by switching from low-mode to high-mode ventilation showed a reduction in CO2 levels, temperature, and relative humidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-187
Number of pages8
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Aircraft
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Indoor air quality
  • Questionnaire survey
  • Relative humidity
  • Respirable particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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