MIAMI – Leave it to tech-loving Japan to find a solution to new industry problems. Japan’s All Nippon Airways (NH) is set to introduce the industry’s first hands-free lavatory door to reduce physical contact during flights, according to a news release.

Partnering with JAMCO Corp., Japan’s largest carrier on May 1 introduces a new lav door equipped with a large inner door locking knob and an additional handle so passengers can use their elbows to unlock the door.

The hands-free lavatory will be installed on 11 Boeing 787-8 aircraft, two Boeing 787-9s and eight Boeing 777-200s. The initial installation will be for aircraft serving domestic routes, while ANA hopes to introduce the system to all domestic and international aircraft in the future.

Because the door mechanism is different to those found on other aircraft, signage has been placed near the lavatory to provide operational instructions.

Part of ANA Care Promise

The innovative door was developed as part of the ANA Care Promise initiative to help limit potential transmission of pathogens on board.

“Guided by the principles of ANA Care Promise, we have continued to invest in the development and implementation of innovative technologies because the health and safety of passengers and our staff is the top priority,” said Shinichi Inoue, senior executive vice president of customer experience, management and planning. “The hands-free lavatory door is the latest example of us putting this principle into practice as we look for ways to make the travel experience safer and more convenient.”

Its partner, JAMCO, specializes in large fleet aircraft refurbishment and reconfiguration.

Featured image: ANA JA741A Boeing 777-281(ER). Photo: Kochan Kleps/Airways