Covid-19: Heathrow Airport starts thermal screening trials

21 May 2020 (Last Updated May 21st, 2020 12:53)

Heathrow Airport in London has started trialling thermal screening technology to check the temperatures of arriving passengers.

Covid-19: Heathrow Airport starts thermal screening trials
Thermal screening technology is being trialled in Terminal 2’s immigration hall. Credit: Heathrow Airports Limited.

Heathrow Airport in London has started trialling thermal screening technology to check the temperatures of arriving passengers.

The technology is currently being trialled in Terminal 2’s immigration hall to identify passengers with higher body temperatures.

Once complete, the observations and data procured in this pilot will be shared with the government and will be used to devise a Common International Standard for health screening.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “To unlock the full benefits of aviation for the economy, a Common International Standard for health screening must be agreed by the global authorities, and the technology we are trialling now could be a part of this solution.

“As one of the world’s great trading nations, the UK should take a lead in setting a global plan to reopen borders, when it is safe to do so. This will help protect millions of British jobs that rely on aviation, but are currently at risk.”

The new thermal screening technology uses camera detection systems to screen several people moving through Heathrow Airport. There will be signage at the immigration hall to guide passengers with the screening.

If successful, the equipment can be deployed at other sections of the airport, including departures, connections and colleague search areas.

Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest international airports globally by passenger traffic, is exploring several steps to restrict the Covid-19 contagion risks. Temperature screening is one of them.

As part of its response, the airport authority has placed 600 hand sanitiser stations, implemented stringent cleaning protocols and deployed perspex barriers for frontline contact points, among others.

All operational Heathrow staff will also be wearing face coverings and will provide such masks to the passengers who do not have their own.

The airport is also planning to use UV sanitation for security trays and contact-free security screening equipment to limit person-to-person contact.