LAX trials thermal camera screening system

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Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, LAX was the third busiest airport in the world and moved a record 88.1 million travelers in 2019. In April 2020, passenger traffic at LAX was more than 95% below what it was a year earlier. In an effort to improve the confidence of returning passengers, the airport has unveiled its Terminal Wellness Project, which will see the deployment of thermal camera technology that can help identify travelers with an elevated body temperature.

Thermal cameras will be placed at two locations inside the airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal –– at the main entrance on the departures level and inside the terminal near select international arrivals –– with both arriving and departing passengers screened. The camera system is designed to rapidly identify people with body temperatures of 38°C or more, which is the current guideline for detecting a fever set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The airport stressed that this is a voluntary program, 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.

Additionally, to protect guest privacy, LAX highlighted that 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 monitoring system will be supplied by Schneider Electric, which will provide three types of camera initially, to help determine which is most accurate and effective at detecting potentially ill people. Meanwhile, Faith Group, an engineering consultancy, will conduct an evaluation of the technology and signage.

The airport said it will also work closely with multiple other partners to assess the technology, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airlines, CDC, and LA County Department of Public Health, and that results from this program will be shared with these partners and leading airports around the world in an effort to set new standards for the industry.

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