CabinAir is a dynamic yet tightly integrated study that concentrates the skills and experience of the partners on five main areas of activity. Each activity is interrelated and the findings from one are being fed into the others.
Measurements in the sky – establishing the facts
This part of the programme has developed a methodology for monitoring cabin air quality, and is assessing the current performance of environmental control systems, filtration systems and air distribution systems.

Monitoring is being carried out on four generic aircraft types, in-flight. The work will assess cabin air quality and ventilation system performance, including the effects of passenger density and flight duration. A total of 50 flights is planned.

The findings will identify current best practice and will be used to improve understanding of:
• what constitutes good cabin air
• the impact on the safety, health and comfort of passengers and crew
• the effects on operating costs, fuel energy use and the external environment.

Environmental control systems – improving technology
Under this programme, new designs will be developed to address various air quality issues including the control of carbon dioxide, humidification, outside air supply, and the recirculation and filtration of air. Operating costs and energy consumption will be analysed in relation to environmental impacts.

New designs must be suitable for retrofitting to existing aircraft, either as complete ECS or as subsystems within existing units. However, retrofitting will be carried out only if it is commercially viable. It is unlikely to be become mandatory unless there are serious health concerns.

The overall intention is to make environmental control systems flexible and easy to operate. Improved systems might for example, enable the crew to match the system to the passenger load factor, to reduce bleed air, or perhaps to provide additional comfort in different areas of the cabin.

Filtration systems – identifying current performance levels and improving technology
This stage of the programme seeks to improve the performance of filtration systems and then develop new technologies and systems.

The investigation will assess existing filtration systems and consider how the installation process and activities such as maintenance, lifting and cleaning affect performance. A technology demonstrator rig will be developed to test new filtration systems.

New and enhanced features will be developed to mitigate problems such as the re-circulation of pollutants, bacteria and viruses.

The filtration systems need to be compatible with the overall environmental control system and operational costs and energy consumption will be a major factor.

The findings will enable the team to propose filtration levels for the European Pre-Normative Standards.

Air distribution and control systems – identifying current performance and improving technology
The effectiveness of current air distribution systems will be gauged through a programme of in-flight monitoring.

New design strategies and technologies, such as personal controls, will be developed with a view to maximising the effectiveness of cabin ventilation.

The study will also look at ways of making the distribution system more easily integrated with aircraft design. The key issue here is to address the problem of enforced layout constraints imposed late on in the overall design process.

Standards and performance specifications – developing European Prestandards
Under this activity, the project will assess existing standards. This will be a very outward-looking piece of work, with wide review and consultation. Potential improvements to existing standards and specifications will be determined. Checks will be carried out to ensure the feasibility of the performance specifications and costs, and to identify any environmental implications.

New performance indices and comfort criteria will be also defined, and a model developed so that they can be tested.

Guidelines for a draft European Pre-Normative Standard will be developed.