Heathrow launches thermal screening technology trial

Thermal screening technology is being trialled in the immigration hall at Heathrow in an attempt to detect elevated temperatures of arriving passengers.

Launching today, the results from these trials will be shared with the UK government.

Officials at the airport hope the data can be used to aid the creation of a common international standard for health screening. 

The technology under trial uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of multiple people moving through the airport.

Passengers will be alerted to the trials through signage placed at the immigration hall,  but will otherwise see no visible change to their arrivals journey as no other screening methods will be needed.

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No personal data will be stored or shared through these trials.

If successful, the equipment may be rolled out across the airport into departures, connections and colleague search areas to further stress test its capabilities.

Heathrow is clear any measures or technology must satisfy certain tests if it is introduced as mandatory in the future, including: satisfy medically grounded science; able to build confidence amongst passengers; and be practical for airports to deliver.

Temperature screening is part of a wider set of processes and technology set to be trialled at Heathrow that are looking at how the risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19 while travelling can be reduced.

From this week, all operational Heathrow colleagues will be wearing face coverings and will be handing out face coverings to any arriving and departing passengers who do not have their own.

This is in addition to the provision of over 600 hand sanitiser stations, enhanced cleaning regimes, prominent signage featuring government health advice, perspex barriers for frontline contact points and social distancing reminders.

Heathrow will also explore the use of UV sanitation to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

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