Gatwick to reopen North Terminal to accommodate more flights

Gatwick has introduced several measures to protect the health and safety of both passengers and staff, as the airport prepares to reopen its North Terminal today, June 15, with several airlines planning to scale up their flying programmes.

As part of the new safety measures, passengers will be required to wear a face covering within the airport with Gatwick staff mandated to wear face coverings in customer interface areas of the terminals. Face mask vending machines will also be made available at the airport. Good hand-hygiene will be encouraged with sign-posted hand washing facilities and numerous hand sanitising stations – including touch-free models. The airport will also ensure frequent deep cleaning of common-use surfaces throughout the airport with teams available to respond to any passenger concerns on cleanliness. Social distancing procedures will be in place at check in, security, gate rooms, seating in departure halls and in restaurants, bars and shops; and Perspex screens will be throughout the terminals, including check in desks, and gate rooms.

Gatwick will now also increase its operating hours to 0600-22.00 and easyJet has announced that it is restarting flights from the North Terminal on June 15 alongside Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport, said: ‘Having remained open throughout this pandemic the wellbeing and safety of our passengers and everyone that works at the airport remains our top priority. We have introduced a range of new social distancing and hygiene solutions to help this happen so we can all help protect each other when travelling through the airport. We want people to understand that airports and air travel is a safe environment in this COVID-19 travelling world.’

‘We are pleased to be in a position to re-open the North Terminal and we look forward to welcoming back easyJet as they restart flights alongside our other airlines. The recent Government announcement regarding the 14-day quarantine period for passengers arriving into the UK is, in our opinion, already having an impact on the start of air travel recovery. We accept the Government’s absolute priority is the protection of public health, but we continue to push for regular, country by country reviews of quarantine regulations, based on medical evidence.’

Passengers travelling through the airport are encouraged to check the travel guidance before they leave home https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-services/coronavirus/, Gatwick said. In addition to passenger guidance available online and via passenger app, digital and physical signage advising passengers of the new health measures is displayed throughout the airport. Further, a new film will also be aired that informs passengers of the new guidance and what to expect when travelling through the airport.

London Stansted asks passengers to wear face coverings

London Stansted is urging passengers travelling through London Stansted to cover their faces and wear gloves.

The airport’s owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has issued the new guidance and is trialling the measures across its other airports, Manchester and East Midlands. The move makes these airports the first in the UK to ask their passengers to wear face coverings.

The move is aimed at ensuring that the limited number of passengers currently making essential journeys through its airports feels safer and confident about flying. It will also provide a further level of protection to colleagues working at the airport. The pilot scheme will provide valuable feedback and set a path towards a new minimum standard for safe international travel.

Passengers are urged to bring their own gloves and face coverings or face masks to the airport. However, in the early stages of the pilot, for those arriving without, gloves and masks will be provided that can be worn throughout passengers’ time at the airport. London Stansted will also be conducting some limited temperature screening trials over the next few weeks. Initially, during this trial phase, this will be to test equipment and results will not be communicated to passengers or used to decide whether a passenger can travel.

MAG is planning to ask all passengers to make a health declaration in order to enter its airports and will give passengers sufficient notice of any such trials.

London Stansted Chief Operating Officer, Steve Griffiths, said: ‘It’s clear that social distancing will not work on any form of public transport. But we’re confident that when the time is right, people will be able to travel safely.

‘Here at London Stansted, we’ve been working hard with our two sister airports and the rest of the industry on a new safety framework for travel. We now need to work urgently with Government to agree how we operate in the future. This has to be a top priority so that people can be confident about flying, and to get tourism and travel going again.

‘ We have taken expert medical advice on how people can travel safely, and we’re pleased to be piloting these new measures at our airports for those passengers who do still need to travel. We expect to be able to agree a new framework by the end of May that will support a restart of the industry as soon as possible.’

Heathrow to commence COVID detection trials to reduce risk of Coronavirus transmission

London Heathrow has said that it will test out technologies and processes that could reduce risk of Covid-19 transmission while travelling, driving the development of a Common International Standard for health screening globally.

The trials – which will assess for medical effectiveness, passenger response as well as suitability to the airport environment – could form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at all global airports. Before any new measures are rolled out across the airport, they will be reviewed against Heathrow’s three tests to ensure that they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and practical for airports to deliver.

The concepts under review as part of the Heathrow trials include: UV sanitation, to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays; facial recognition thermal screening technology to accurately track body temperature; and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

The first of the trials will be a temperature screening technology that uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of people moving through the airport. The passenger-facing trials will first be conducted in the airport’s immigration halls, and if successful will be introduced in departures, connections and colleague search areas. The trials will begin in the next two weeks in Terminal 2.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: ‘Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy, and to restart the economy, the 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.’

As an international hub airport, Heathrow follows an international standard and is already required to carry out temperature checks by some other countries. Temperature screening was introduced following previous outbreaks of SARS and Ebola, with some countries using thermal checks as a control measure against COVID-19.

Data from trials on COVID-19 mitigation will be shared with Government, aviation industry and other UK airports to drive the creation of a Common International Standard for health screening. Holland-Kaye has been urging the UK Government to lead the global implementation of a Common International Standard, to ensure continued passenger safety and restore confidence in travel as countries prepare to ease their respective lockdowns.