Heathrow introduces new safety measures

 Thursday, July 16, 2020 


London’s Heathrow Airport recently unveiled a new set of measures to further reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission the airport. Authorities have introduced a number of pioneering technologies including UV cleaning robots which use UV rays to kill viruses and bacteria efficiently at night. The airport has also installed UV handrail technology in escalators to ensure continuous disinfection of the moving handrails. It is also attaching self-cleaning anti-viral wraps to security trays, lift buttons, trolley and door handles.

The anti-viral wraps coat high-touch surfaces in a material with long-lasting anti-viral protection. The airport is also retraining 100 colleagues to serve as hygiene-technicians who will look after thorough disinfection of the airport and answer passenger queries on the methods being used. These technicians will continuously monitor the effectiveness of the new technologies and help to inform plans to roll these projects across the entire airport. Meanwhile, the airport is also continuing with the temperature testing technology launched in May as it performs well in a live operational environment, with the potential to quickly and seamlessly screen passengers with minimal impact to the passenger journey.

Heathrow has also constantly reviewed every step of the passenger journey to identify key touchpoints where anti-viral technologies would have the most impact before carrying out the trials. The touchpoints are now being equipped with ‘Fly Safe Pit Stops’ points consisting of face masks, anti-viral wipes and hand sanitiser that can be picked up passengers free of charge and help in keeping them safe on their journeys. Several airport teams are also reviewing technologies which could remove the need for passengers to touch self-service check in machines, and allow them to control the kiosks from their phones.

The airport has also introduced Perspex barriers in security areas and compulsory face coverings for some retailers as well another additional touchless services available on Heathrow and airline apps. In addition, Apple has also started trials of informative alerts to passengers arriving at Heathrow, directing iOS users to the latest guidance on travelling through the airport for the first time outside the U.S. The latest safety measures arrive as U.K. holidaymakers are finally given permission to travel between low-risk countries without the need to quarantine on return.

However, the airport has also warned that while the initial travel corridors are being welcomed, more work is required to safely restore Britain’s long-haul network. John Holland Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow Airport said in a statement that the entire Heathrow airport experience has been reviewed to ensure that passengers and colleagues are kept safe as travel resumes to ‘Green’ and ‘Amber’ countries. He mentioned that authorities are also eagerly waiting for the government to restore Britain’s long-haul connections as the country prepares for life outside the EU, with Common International Standards for COVID-19 testing from ‘Red’ countries.

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