Heathrow has introduced a cleaning robot which uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill bacteria and viruses in a bid to make the airport safer in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The robot patrols the UK’s largest airport at night eliminating viruses in a bid to reduce the risk to passengers.
Other cleanliness measures have been introduced including UV handrail technology that is being fitted to escalators to ensure continuous disinfection of the moving handrails.
This technology was originally unveiled by LG in 2017 which claimed it can wipe out 99.99 per cent of the germs on the surface of a handrail just before a passenger lays his or her hand on it. Boeing has even been testing a self-cleaning lavatory for use in planes that uses UV to disinfect all surfaces after every use in just three seconds.
Heathrow has also introduced self-cleaning anti-viral wraps to security trays, lift buttons, trollies and door handles, aiming to provide long-lasting protection from Covid-19. The wraps work by coating high-touch surfaces in a material with long-lasting anti-viral protection.
The airport has been hit badly by the pandemic, with Q1 revenue down by 13 per cent and further pain expected for the foreseeable future. Just 350,000 people travelled through the airport last month, down 95 per cent on June 2019.
With many people reluctant to fly at the moment, Heathrow’s hygiene efforts could help to ease passengers’ concerns.
Around 100 airport workers are being retrained to serve as hygiene technicians to boost cleaning and answer passenger queries on the methods being used.
Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye, who recently backed the idea of ‘air bridges’ between lower risk countries, said: “We have reviewed the entire Heathrow airport experience to ensure that our passengers and colleagues are kept safe as travel resumes to ‘Green’ and ‘Amber’ countries.
“Now we need government to safely restore Britain’s long-haul connections as the country prepares for life outside the EU, with Common International Standards for Covid testing from ‘Red’ countries.”