London Heathrow Airport is to press ahead with the development of a Common International Standard by trialling technologies and processes which reduce the risk of coronavirus (Covid-19).
In a significant development, John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow informed the House of Commons Transport Committee today (6 May) that the airport is to trial technologies and processes which could form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at global airports.
Holland Kaye’s appearance before the Transport Select Committee, follows his recent requests to the UK Government for the global implementation of a Common International Standard.
An airport statement said: “Consistency is the only way to ensure continued passenger safety and restore confidence in travel as countries prepare to ease their respective lockdowns.”
The trials will begin in the next two weeks in Terminal 2 and the first trial will be a temperature screening technology, which uses camera detection systems to monitor the temperatures of people moving through the airport.
TRIALS TO BEGIN IN TERMINAL 2
Passenger-facing trials will initially be conducted in the airport’s immigration halls. If successful, the equipment will be rolled out to departures, connections and colleague search areas.
In the meantime, Heathrow, which reported a -15% drop in Q1 retail revenue, says that the aim of the collective measures being trialled is to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19 when travelling.
Measures which will need to be adopted consist of ‘tried and tested’ processes and technology, along with innovations new to the airport environment.
Concepts under review as part of the Heathrow trials include ultraviolet sanitation, which could be used to quickly sanitise security trays and facial recognition thermal screening technology to accurately track body temperature.
Contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact is also being considered.
All measures on the table will be reviewed against three tests undertaken by the airport. The tests will ensure they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and are practical for airports to deliver.
The statement added: “As an international hub airport, we will need to follow an international standard. We are already required to carry out temperature checks by other countries.
“Temperature screening was introduced following previous outbreaks of SARS and Ebola, with some countries using thermal checks as a control measure against Covid-19.”
Holland-Kaye said: “Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy. 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.”
As reported, Vienna Airport has also introduced a Covid-19 testing system to ensure maximum protection for travellers.