Los Angeles Airport Deploys Thermal Camera Technology In Fight Against Covid-19

By introducing new thermal camera technology, LAX Airport will be able to rapidly identify people with a potential fever, a main symptom of COVID-19.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) – with the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti – has announced the launch of the Terminal Wellness Project at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), involving the deployment of thermal camera technology that can help to identify travellers with an elevated body temperature. The introduction of the temperature checks at the airport is the latest measure in the city’s continuing response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Mayor Garcetti said: “A world-class airport isn’t defined just by our historic investments in a reimagined LAX and an improved travelling experience – it’s also about world-class safety. This project reflects the best of this city’s innovative spirit, and it will help keep travellers healthy and set a new industry standard.”

Prior to the pandemic, LAX was the third busiest airport in the world and welcomed a record 88.1 million travellers in 2019. In April 2020, passenger traffic at LAX was more than 95 per cent below what it was a year earlier.

As of 23 June 2020, thermal cameras will be deployed at two locations inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the airport – at the main entrance on the departures level and inside the terminal near select international arrivals – with both arriving and departing passengers set to be screened. The cameras are designed to rapidly identify people with body temperatures of 100.4 degrees or more, which is the current guideline for detecting a fever set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Credit: Los Angeles International Airport

This is a voluntary programme, with signage alerting passengers where the trial will take place. If a voluntary participant is identified as having an elevated body temperature, a medical professional near the camera operator will approach the identified person and request a secondary screening using a handheld, non-contact thermometer. Departing guests who are identified as having an elevated body temperature will be advised that they should not travel. Passengers on arriving international flights identified as being potentially ill may be referred to CDC staff on site.

The thermal camera temperature checks will not replace other safety measures that are currently in place at Los Angeles Airport. To protect guest privacy, the cameras will not store, transmit or share any data or images taken. Guests who decline to participate will have the opportunity to use a different pathway.

The airport will work closely with multiple partners to evaluate the use of the technology, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airlines, CDC, and the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Results from this programme will be shared with these partners and leading airports around the world in an effort to set new standards for the industry.

Under Mayor Garcetti’s leadership, LAX has taken aggressive action to protect travellers and residents from COVID-19. The airport has introduced additional signage directing guests to practice social distancing, wear a face covering at all times and wash their hands frequently. In addition, LAX has increased deep cleaning throughout the airport, focusing on ‘high touch’ areas, and has installed more than 250 hand sanitiser stations. LAWA is continually working with partners, shops and restaurants to deliver a seamless, contact-free experience.

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