Etihad to trial technology designed to identify passengers with symptoms of illness

Etihad Airways has partnered with Elenium Automation, an Australian company, to trial technology which allows self-service devices at airports to be used to help identify travelers with symptoms of illness.

Etihad will be the first airline to trial the technology, which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touch point such as a check-in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate.

The Elenium system will automatically suspend the self-service check-in or bag drop process if a passenger’s vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness, such as a very high temperature.

It will then divert to a teleconference or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments.

Etihad will trial the monitoring technology at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi at the end of April and throughout May 2020, initially with a range of volunteers, and, as flights resume, outbound passengers.

Jorg Oppermann, Vice President Hub and Midfield Operations, Etihad Airways, said, “This technology is not designed or intended to diagnose medical conditions.

It is an early warning indicator which will help to identify people with general symptoms, so that they can be further assessed by medical experts, potentially preventing the spread of some conditions to others preparing to board flights to multiple destinations. It has long been the case that aircraft, with their highly sophisticated air-recycling systems and standards of hygiene are not the transmission vehicle for illnesses.

“We are testing this technology because we believe it will not only help in the current COVID19 outbreak, but also into the future, with assessing a passenger’s suitability to travel and thus minimising disruptions.

At Etihad we see this is another step towards ensuring that future viral outbreaks do not have the same devastating effect on the global aviation industry as is currently the case.”