Gatwick has begun rolling out UV technology designed to disinfect trays used in its passenger and staff security lanes.

The airport trialled the ‘UV tunnel’ at one security lane in July, and is in the process of rolling it out to a total of eight lanes (six for passengers and two for staff) by the end of this month.

Provided by Smiths Detection, the technology sees security trays pass through a covered UV tunnel fixed underneath the exiting hand luggage screening system.

Gatwick says it is the first airport in the UK to treat its security trays “with enough UV light energy to guarantee a 99.9 per cent microbe disinfection rate – protecting passengers and staff and reducing the spread of coronaviruses, including Covid-19, and other infections on this high-touch surface area”.

According to the airport the system uses short-wavelength UV-C light, “which laboratory tests show 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”.

Gatwick stresses that the technology “is completely contained within a covered unit”… “ensuring no risk of exposure to either passengers or staff”.

The Ultraviolet light tray disinfection kit by Smiths Detection has also been trialled at Seoul’s Incheon International airport.

The new UV tunnels add to existing health and safety measures introduced at Gatwick, including enhanced deep cleaning of common use surfaces, and the installation of around 500 perspex screens and 200 sanitising stations.

Commenting on the news Adrian Witherow, chief operating officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“The health and wellbeing of our passengers and staff remains our priority. The system goes above and beyond the guidelines and we will continue to do everything we can to help reassure our passengers that flying is still a great travelling experience and that the health measures we have in place are effective and easy to follow.

“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. “

Edinburgh airport recently introduced new security trays with built-in antimicrobial technology, and Delta is rolling out similar technology at its airports including Atlanta, Minneapolis St Paul, Los Angeles, New York LaGuardia and New York JFK.

Delta to introduce antimicrobial security trays