Airports remain a place where those traveling during the summer months will likely find themselves in crowded waiting areas and busy terminals. Due to the amount of time spent in airports waiting for both a flight, and then time spent in the air, travelers have indicated concerns about the safety of airports. However, new technology, and innovative leaders in the sector are supporting traveler health and safety by implementing new systems that can effectively reduce pollutants and viruses in the air, and help to give peace of mind to those about to hop on a flight. An example of this new technology is AtmosAir’s bi-polar ionization technology, which is 99.9% effective in reducing coronavirus on surfaces. This tech has been installed in more than 7,500 commercial buildings, including airports. With the concern of airborne viruses, pollutants and other air quality issues, airports have begun the vital process of digital transformation.
With that in mind, below are five strategies to prepare an airport and maintain optimal indoor quality (IAQ) throughout the summer months and into the future.
1) Prepare for Growing Traveler Numbers
Traveler numbers in airports are now nearing pre-pandemic levels, and many have new expectations for IAQ and public safety in airports and terminals. These expectations have driven new innovations, and along with utilizing technology such as AtmosAir’s, the installation of flexible spaces that allow for proper distancing between travelers as well as outdoor spaces can also be an effective tool to support public confidence in airports.
Consider Pittsburgh International Airport, which has announced over a billion dollars in construction plans slated to be completed in 2025. These plans include massive expansions of terminals to allow for garden and green spaces, higher windows and ceilings for increased natural light, and improved ventilation and infrastructure systems. These systems will be one of the most crucial components of airports moving forward, and companies such as AtmosAir will be able to supply these kinds of tech advancements.
2) Develop a Comprehensive IAQ Strategy
Airport owners and operators should have both a comprehensive understanding and strategy for IAQ in terminals moving forward, and the main aspect of this strategy will be a ventilation and HVAC system. These systems should be properly maintained and receive consistent maintenance and updates when necessary. With systems working optimally, there will be a positive impact on traveler health and in turn, the crowds during the summer month can be assured and confident that the space is utilizing the best possible technology to maintain health and safety at all times.
3) Rid the Air of Pollutants
While the aforementioned additions can be key foundational pieces of an airport experience for customers, the most vital task at the moment is keeping indoor air quality as high as possible. This means eliminating from the air: pollutants, bacteria and any airborne viruses. Some airports have already begun this valuable process of digital and safety transformation, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which implemented changes by way of AtmosAir technology in 2019. These technologies have helped to mitigate pollutants in the air that are sourced from a number of factors at the airport, including tarmac exhaust from planes, as well as bacteria, mold and viruses.
4) Remember that Outdoor Air is Important Too
While some technologies may be able to control the air quality of the air inside an airport, it will be crucial to implement a technology such as AtmosAir that is able to eliminate pollutants and minimize risk from outdoor air. For airports such as LAX which are located in highly polluted areas, this is all the more important to help to maintain traveler health and safety inside the airport. Moreover, this will help to drive value for both owners as well as travelers, as customers will feel more confident and comfortable and will drive high numbers of flights in 2022, but also ensure that the experience in the airport is as safe as possible.
5) Streamline the Customer Experience
With that in mind, the main aspect of the customer experience that can minimize worries, besides bi-polar ionization technology, are solutions for passengers such as automated systems for TSA and baggage drop-off. Orlando International Airport has installed fully automated screening lanes for TSA and facial recognition cameras to facilitate arrivals and departures In addition. DFW airport now offers touchless bag-drop off across all terminals with the intention to implement and test biometric domestic boarding processes later in the year.
In summary, as airports work to serve passengers and guests in the highest-quality way possible, it will be vitally important to for the success of both airlines and international and regional airports to have systems in place that provide measures to ensure the passenger that their safety is important from a commercial standpoint and the for the future success of air travel.
Tony Abate has served as CTO for AtmosAir since its inception in 2004.