Heathrow to trial technologies that reduce COVID-19 transmission
Heathrow is to drive the development of a Common International Standard by trialling processes that reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, has informed the House of Commons Transport Committee that the airport is to trial technologies and processes which could form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at airports.
The aim is to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 whilst travelling.
The measures that will need to be adopted will consist of tested processes and innovations new to the airport environment. Concepts under review as part of the Heathrow trials include UV sanitation (used to sanitise security trays), facial recognition thermal screening technology (to track body temperature) and contact-free security screening equipment (reducing person-to-person contact).
Before any new measures are implemented across the airport, they will be reviewed against Heathrow’s three tests to ensure that they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and practical for airports to deliver.
The first of these trials will be a temperature screening technology which uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of people within the airport, conducted in the airport’s immigration halls. If successful, the equipment will then be rolled out to departures, connections and colleague search areas.
Consistency is the only way to ensure continued passenger safety and restore confidence in travel as countries prepare to ease their respective lockdowns. The learnings from these trials will be shared with the government and other UK airports.
Holland-Kaye said: “Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy and to restart the economy, the government needs to help restart aviation. The UK has the world’s third largest aviation sector offering the platform for the government to take a lead in agreeing a Common International Standard for aviation health with our main trading partners. This standard is key to minimising transmission of COVID-19 across borders and the technology we are trialling at Heathrow could be part of the solution.”