Los Angeles International Airport trials thermal cameras

25 Jun 2020 by Seher Asaf
Thermal scanners at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport has begun trialling thermal scanning technology that aims to identify passengers with fevers in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

As part of the Terminal Wellness Project, thermal cameras have been deployed at two locations inside the 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. This is a voluntary programme.

The cameras 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), according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

LAX thermal scanners

If a traveller has a high body temperature, a medical professional near the camera operator will approach the person and request a secondary screening using a handheld, non-contact thermometer, said LAWA.

Departing guests who are identified as having an elevated body temperature “will be advised that they should not travel”. meanwhile, passengers on arriving international flights identified as being potentially ill “may be referred to CDC staff on site”.

“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,” reads a statement from LAWA.

LAWA is launching the program in partnership with the Carlyle Airport Group through Schneider Electric, which will provide three types of cameras to help determine which is most accurate and effective at detecting potentially ill people. Faith Group will provide an evaluation of the technology and signage.

The airport said it will work closely with multiple partners to evaluate the technology including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airlines, CDC, and L.A. County Department of Public Health.

“Bold thinking and innovative solutions are needed as we recover from the greatest reduction in passenger traffic in the history of aviation and transition into a new normal for air travel,” said Sean Burton, president, Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.

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