Temperature checks to be introduced at Edinburgh Airport

Departing passengers will be screened.

By Alastair Dalton
Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 3:24 pm
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 11:20 am
Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Edinburgh Airport is to start testing the temperature of departing passengers as the latest measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.

It expects to begin them later this month or early in June and said the unilateral move was to help reassure travellers.

The testing of arriving passengers is the responsibility of the UK Government Border Force, which said measures were “under review”.

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The move was confirmed hours after Heathrow announced a trial temperature screening programme.

However, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports are still awaiting advice from Health Protection Scotland.

Edinburgh Airport said it had still to confirm whether all departing passengers would be tested, where it would take place in the terminal and what would happen to passengers who had a raised temperature reading.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “The biggest issue we face is the need for a common approach that will allow airports to clearly understand and follow the regulations required of them.

“It’s imperative that government sets out its demands so we can prepare and deliver for the recovery.

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“We know aviation and tourism has a significant role to play in Scotland’s economy and we have been planning how to meet the challenges this virus poses our industry.

“Key to that will be providing reassurance and confidence to passengers and to do that we will be introducing a range of new measures, including trialling temperature screening technology for departing passengers.”

A spokesperson for AGS Airports, which runs Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton, said: “It’s important there is a coordinated and consistent response when it comes to the measures airports will have to put in place.

“We are currently working with both the UK and Scottish governments and their respective health officials, to seek clarity on the measures they will advise upon.

“Whatever steps are introduced will be done to ensure the health and well being of everyone who works and travels through our airports.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Our approach to tackling coronavirus is, and has always been, driven by the latest scientific and medical advice.

“Border Force continues to work with public health authorities to ensure that we have the most effective measures in place and we continue to keep this under review.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are closely following the most up to date guidance from Health Protection Scotland (HPS) when it comes to travellers arriving at Scottish airports.

“We are ensuring airports are providing all the health facilities and services that HPS advises.

“We would encourage the UK Government to carefully consider issues around testing and isolation - and to work with devolved administrations to ensure any measures regarding people entering the UK are applied in a consistent manner.”

Camera technology

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said it would trial technologies and processes which could form the basis of a common international standard for health screening at airports in a bid to encourage passengers to return to flying.

The scheme is aimed at reducing the risk of passengers contracting or transmitting Covid-19 while travelling.

The first trial will be launched in the next two weeks using cameras which are capable of monitoring the temperatures of people.

Cameras will initially be used in the airport's immigration halls, but could be deployed in areas for departures, connections and airport staff searches.

Temperature screening of passengers has been in use by airports in some countries for several weeks as part of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Holland-Kaye said: "Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy, and to restart the economy the [UK] Government needs to help restart aviation.

"The UK has the world's third-largest aviation sector, offering the platform for the Government to take a lead in agreeing a common international standard for aviation health with our main trading partners.

"This standard is key to minimising transmission of Covid-19 across borders, and the technology we are trialling at Heathrow could be part of the solution."

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