Robots Deployed to Kill Viruses at Heathrow Airport at Night

Heathrow Airport is introducing cleaning robots and other measures to try to reduce the risk of virus transmission at the U.K. aviation hub as the country eases travel restrictions.

The robots use ultraviolet rays to kill viruses and bacteria at night, according to a statement from the airport, which didn’t say how many of the machines were being deployed.

The airport is also installing UV technology to disinfect escalator handrails, and self-cleaning anti-viral wraps are being fitted to often-touched surfaces such as security trays and elevator buttons. One hundred workers are being retrained as “hygiene technicians” to monitor the effectiveness of the new technologies and answer passenger queries, Heathrow said.

The U.K., with nearly 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 45,000 deaths, lifted quarantine-on-arrival rules last week for people landing from 74 countries and territories. Heathrow said Monday that the number of people passing through the airport was down 95% in June from a year earlier.

“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,” Heathrow Chief Executive Officer John Holland Kaye said in the statement. “Now we need the government to safely restore Britain’s long-haul connections as the country prepares for life outside the EU.”

Other measures at the airport include “Fly Safe Pit Stops,” where passengers can pick up free face masks, hand sanitizers and wipes. Apple Inc. is also testing alerts to help guide travelers through the airport, Heathrow said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.