Laboratory tests show a 99.9% disinfection rate with every tray treated immediately before each passenger uses it
London Gatwick has become the first airport in the UK to treat its security trays with enough UV light energy to guarantee a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate – which it says will reduce the spread of coronaviruses, including COVID-19.
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 each passenger uses it.
Following a one-month trial on a single security lane in July, with laboratory testing demonstrating the high disinfection rate, the new system will be rolled out on eight lanes in facility’s North Terminal – six for passengers and two for staff – by the end of this month.
Adrian Witherow, chief operating officer, Gatwick Airport, commented: “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.”
Richard Thompson, Smiths Detection’s global director of aviation, added: “The introduction of the UV-C kits demonstrates [Gatwick’s] interest in ensuring the highest standard of care for their customers and team members in response to COVID-19. The technology deployed by [us] 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.”
Meanwhile, more than 200 security trays are set to be redistributed from Edinburgh to airports in Africa to help staff train for security inspections.
The trays were taken out of use at Edinburgh earlier this year and will be reused in airports throughout the African continent, rather than being destroyed as the airport continues to improve its sustainability approach.
Gordon Robertson, director of communications and sustainability at Edinburgh Airport said: “Reusing items rather than disposing of them is part of a circular economy that the airport wants to be part of as we continue to improve our sustainability approach, and reusing these trays has the added benefit of allowing staff in other areas of the world to train to the same high standard that our staff do.”
The airport has replaced the trays with new antimicrobial ones.