Gatwick Airport is rolling out the use of UV light technology to disinfect security trays. Using a system supplied by Smiths Detection, the airport’s newly installed capability will see each tray pass through a tunnel underneath the luggage screening conveyor, where it is bombarded with UV light.
The airport states that, following a one-month trial on a single security lane in July 2020, coupled with laboratory testing demonstrating a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate, the system will be rolled out on eight lanes in Gatwick’s North Terminal – six for passengers and two for staff – by the end of September. Gatwick says this is a UK airport first.
The process relies on short-wavelength UV-C light, which testing shows is effective against coronaviruses, including Covid-19 and SARS, as the radiation warps the structure of their genetic material and prevents the viral particles from replicating. According to Smiths, the UV-C light is completely contained within a covered unit designed following safety standard BS EN ISO 15858:2016, ensuring no risk of exposure to either passengers or staff.
Gatwick and other airports have already deployed other anti-viral systems, such as coatings sprayed onto trays, however this protection dissipates over time whereas this new system treats every tray just before use – ensuring maximum protection and a reduced risk of passing on infection. Gatwick says this new UV technology implementation is a UK airport first.
Adrian Witherow, chief operating officer, Gatwick Airport, said, “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.”