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Contactless Travel Is The New Way Forward: How India's Airports Are Ramping Up Sanitization Processes For Enhanced Safety

Dr. Rachna Dave, Founder, MicroGO

As travel resumes sequentially, major airports across the country are going all-out in their efforts to ensure first-class hygiene measures for maximum safety.

As we are well aware by now, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began as an outbreak in the city of Wuhan, has caused a cascade of events resulting in the entire world coming to a standstill. While the pandemic continues to ravage the country with over 600,000 active cases, India is also observing soaring recovery rates standing strong at over 72%, and the economy has gradually begun to reopen. Corporate offices have resumed businesses and are operating with limited staff as per government regulations, and other sectors, too, such as manufacturing, are beginning to recommence operations.

Even hard-hit industries such as travel have restarted operations, albeit with stringent safety measures. Up until a couple of months ago, even cargo flights were bombarded with restrictions to ensure that there is no risk of contamination through any source. Slowly but surely, the travel industry, which has taken a considerable blow, is trying to get back on its feet while exercising utmost caution for maximum safety and hygiene. Leveraging cutting edge technology, airports are implementing top-notch protocols to ensure passengers and airport authorities/ground staff are not faced with the risk of catching the virus. Let us take a look at how airports in the country have managed to revolutionize the sanitization process through bolstered measures.

New-age tech to facilitate social distancing
There is no doubt that the current global scenario

calls for social distancing and minimal human contact. For airports, one of the busiest and most crowded places in the world, enforcing social distancing and reducing human contact became a priority as the virus virtually brought travel to a screeching halt. Just like many other instances, technology once again proved to be the saviour in times of need.

With CUSS (Common-Use Self-Service) kiosks to enable passengers to check-in without the help of staff while maintaining adequate distance and thermal scanners to monitor the body temperature of all passengers walking inside, airports are bringing best-in-class technology for enhanced safety. Additionally, airports are also ensuring that high-traffic areas are sanitized every 24 hours using Ultra Low Volume Machines (ULV) that help thoroughly disinfect the area. Mobile disinfection towers that will utilize UV lamps for sanitization have been placed across various places in the building. Besides these, smart hygiene stations with auto sanitizer dispensers will be installed at entrances to lessen contact and help people disinfect their hands before entering.

There is no doubt that the current global scenario calls for social distancing and minimal human contact

The continued need for manual services
Despite technology’s high efficiency, we can never overlook the significance of manual services as certain functions require humans and cannot be performed by technology. Airport personnel is being offered certified training in the best practices of hygiene for their safety as well as that of passengers. For instance, tickets and ID proofs will be verified by staff who will be sitting inside a room with shields using a scanner. At the security checkpoints, authorities will be using hand-held disinfection torches to sanitize electronic gadgets such as laptops and mobile devices. Further, some airports such as the Bangalore International Airport have deployed dedicated teams that sanitize the device disinfection trays after each use.

Airports are leaving no stone unturned to make sure that every nook and corner of the building is hygienic and safe. Frequently touched areas such as baggage trolleys are sanitized with custom-designed UV tunnels located at cordoned off areas within the airport. The trolleys are passed through these tunnels, where they are entirely sanitized in 5-10 seconds. Staff members have also been appointed to enforce social distancing norms are adhered to by passengers.

Needless to say, contactless travel is the new way forward, and India’s airport authorities are stepping up measures to provide a safe and comfortable experience for passengers and staff. With such strict protocols being enforced, we can be sure that the industry will soon be revived, and passengers can fly comfortably without fear.

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