Gatwick has become the first airport in the UK to treat its security trays with ultraviolet (UV) light energy to protect passengers and staff and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infections on this high-touch surface area.
The new system, provided by Smiths Detection, sees each tray pass through a covered ‘UV-tunnel’ fixed underneath the hand luggage screening system, as trays exit the scanners, so that every tray is treated immediately before the next passenger uses it.
According to the airport, which trialled the system on a single security lane in July, laboratory tests have demonstrated 99.9% disinfection rate with every tray treated immediately before each passenger uses it.
Following the initial trial, Gatwick has now decided to roll out the system on eight lanes at its North Terminal by the end of the month.
Adrian Witherow, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport, said: “The health and wellbeing of our passengers and staff remains our priority. The system goes above and beyond the guidelines and we will continue to do everything we can to help reassure our passengers that flying is still a great travelling experience and that the health measures we have in place are effective and easy to follow.
“This new system has proven itself to be extremely reliable and provides a really high degree of reassurance as every single passenger and staff member using the system will have a tray that has only just been disinfected. As an airport, we will continue to explore innovative health solutions like this that reduce the spread of coronaviruses and other infections.”
The system uses short-wavelength UV-C light, which has proven to be effective against coronaviruses, including COVID-19 and SARS, as the radiation warps the structure of their genetic material and prevents the viral particles from replicating.
The airport says that the UV-C light is contained within a covered unit, ensuring no risk of exposure to either passengers or staff.
Richard Thompson, Global Director of Aviation, Smiths Detection, added: “We’ve partnered with Gatwick Airport on a number of security projects over the years, bringing them cutting-edge screening technology and greater operational efficiency.
“The introduction of the UV-C kits demonstrates their interest in ensuring the highest standard of care for their customers and team members in response to COVID-19. The technology deployed by Smiths Detection will not only help to create a healthy airport but is also completely safe to use and will not slow down the security screening process.”The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are continuously evolving. Our friends at APEX have a dedicated COVID-19 page, which they’ll be updating regularly to help keep you up-to-date on how the novel coronavirus is impacting the aviation industry. Visit the page for the very latest news >>