Heathrow is to trial Covid-19 screening and prevention measures in a bid to jump-start the creation of a common international standard.
Trials will include UV sanitation for security trays, facial recognition thermal screening technology to track body temperature and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person infection.
The airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye told the House of Commons Transport Select Committee it was taking the initiative to introduce the measures itself. The UK government has been criticised for not ordering the screening of the estimated 18 million passengers who have arrived in the UK since lockdown began.
The first trial will be a camera detection system to monitor temperatures of people moving through the airport. Trials will begin in immigration halls and if successful, equipment will then be used in departures, connections and staff search areas. Tests will begin in the next two weeks in Terminal 2.
Holland-Kaye’s appearance at the Transport Select Committee follows his recent request to the government to lead the global implementation of a common international standard to ensure passenger safety and restore confidence in travel as countries prepare to ease lockdowns. Key learnings will be shared with 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.”