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Heathrow to begin Covid-19 detection trials this month

Heathrow to begin Covid-19 detection trials this month

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has informed the House of Commons transport committee that the airport is to trial technologies which could form the basis of a common international standard for health screening at all global airports.

Holland-Kaye has previously urged the government to take the lead in developing an international standard for travel, fearing a piecemeal approach will be detrimental to the aviation sector.

The package of measures that will need to be adopted will consist of tried and tested processes and technology as well as innovations new to the airport environment, he explained.

Concepts under review as part of the Heathrow trials include: UV sanitation, which could be used to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays; facial recognition thermal screening technology to accurately track body temperature; and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

Before any new measures are rolled out across the airport, they will be reviewed against Heathrow’s three tests to ensure that they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and practical for airports to deliver.

The first of these trials will be a temperature screening technology which uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of people moving through the airport.

These passenger-facing trials will first be conducted in the airport’s immigration halls.

If successful, the equipment will then be rolled out to departures, connections and colleague search areas.


The trials will begin in the next two weeks in Terminal 2.

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.

“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.”