By Bev Fearis, published 15/07/20
UV cleaning robots are being installed at Heathrow Airport to detect and kill viruses and bacteria overnight.
They are among a number of pioneering technologies being introduced in an effort to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19 at the airport.
UV handrail technology is being fitted to escalators to ensure continuous disinfection of the moving handrails while self-cleaning anti-viral wraps are being fitted to security trays, lift buttons, trolley and door handles.
The wraps work by coating high-touch surfaces in a material with long-lasting anti-viral protection.
Heathrow is also retraining 100 staff as hygiene-technicians, who will thoroughly disinfect the airport and answer passenger queries on the methods being used.
The team will continuously monitor the effectiveness of the new technologies and help to inform plans to roll these projects out across the entire airport.
Fly Safe Pit Stops – points where passengers can pick up face masks, anti-viral wipes and hand sanitiser free of charge – are being rolled out at high touch points throughout the airport.
Heathrow is also looking at technologies which could remove the need for passengers to touch self-service check-in machines, allowing them to control the kiosks from their phones.
CEO John Holland Kaye said: “We have reviewed the entire Heathrow airport experience to ensure that our passengers and colleagues are kept safe as travel resumes to ‘Green’ and ‘Amber’ countries. Now we need Government to safely restore Britain’s long-haul connections as the country prepares for life outside the EU, with Common International Standards for COVID testing from ‘Red’ countries.”
Meanwhile, Heathrow said temperature testing technology launched in May continues to “perform well with the potential to quickly and seamlessly screen passengers with minimal impact to the passenger journey”.
The airport is in ongoing talks with Government on the next steps.