Heathrow airport is to start trialling temperature detecting cameras in one of its immigration halls as part of a major programme to screen passengers for Covid-19.
Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye informed MPs on the Transport Select Committee that the airport is trialling large-scale temperature checks as the aviation industry struggles with coronavirus.
Other measures under review include UV sanitation to quickly cleanse the trays at security and contactless security procedures to reduce person to person contact.
These trials aim to form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at all global airports.
The thermal screening technology is the first to be trialled and will start in the next two weeks in the immigration halls of Terminal 2.
Using camera detection systems, it will scan people as they move through the terminal and monitor their temperature – a fever is one of the common symptoms of the virus.
If the trials are successful, the equipment will then be rolled out to departures, connections and colleague search areas throughout the airport.
Temperature screening was introduced following previous outbreaks of SARS and Ebola, with some countries using thermal checks as a control measure against COVID-19.
Mr Holland-Kaye said 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.
Air travel has plummeted since the pandemic began with the likes of British Airways and Virgin laying off thousands of staff.
He said the introduction of common standards would allow airlines to start flying again more frequently. Thousands of flights have been cancelled due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.