Heathrow uses cleaning robots and other anti-viral measures

Robots use UV rays to kill viruses and bacteria at night

Heathrow is introducing a number of new anti-viral measures at key touchpoints to protect passengers, reducing the risk of transmission when travelling.

Some of the measures being rolled out include UV cleaning robots, anti-viral disinfecting wraps and sealants and 100 hygiene-technicians

The new measures result from a review done by the airport of the entire passenger journey.

New technologies

The airport has started using a number of new technologies including:

  • UV cleaning robots which use UV rays to quickly and efficiently kill viruses and bacteria at night
  • UV handrail technology is being fitted to escalators to ensure continuous disinfection of the moving handrails
  • self-cleaning anti-viral wraps are being fitted to security trays, lift buttons, trolley and door handles, aiming to provide long-lasting protection from COVID-19. The wraps work by coating high-touch surfaces in a material with long-lasting anti-viral protection

Heathrow is retraining 100 staff to serve as hygiene-technicians who thoroughly disinfect the airport and answer passenger queries on the methods being used. They will continuously monitor the effectiveness of the new technologies and help to inform plans to roll these projects out across the entire airport.


Prior to these trials, Heathrow reviewed every step of the passenger journey to identify key touchpoints where anti-viral technologies would have the most impact.

Fly Safe Pit Stops – points where passengers can pick up face masks, anti-viral wipes and hand sanitiser free of charge – are being rolled out at these touchpoints to keep passengers safe.

Teams at the airport are also reviewing technologies which could remove the need for passengers to touch self-service check in machines, allowing them to control the kiosks from their phones.

These enhanced cleaning measures are in addition to several steps the airport has taken, including the introduction of Perspex barriers in security areas and in some retailers, compulsory face coverings, one way systems as well as touchless services available on Heathrow and airline apps.

In addition, passengers at Heathrow will now receive a notification on their iPhone or iPad with the latest COVID-19 guidance on travelling through the airport.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland Kaye:

 “We have reviewed the entire Heathrow airport experience to ensure that our passengers and colleagues are kept safe as travel resumes to “Green” and “Amber” countries. Now we need Government to safely restore Britain’s long-haul connections as the country prepares for life outside the EU, with Common International Standards for COVID testing from “Red” countries.”

The temperature testing technology launched in May continues to perform well in a live operational environment, with the potential to quickly screen passengers with minimal impact to the passenger journey. The airport is ongoing talks with the Government on possible next steps.

N.B. Image credit: Heathrow

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