LOS ANGELES (CBSMiami) – One U.S. airport is starting a pilot program that uses thermal cameras to spot passengers with a fever. The hope is to identify travelers with the coronavirus.
Los Angeles International Airport is testing how well three different systems identify passengers with a temperature of 100.4 or higher as they pass by. Flyers flagged for fever will be tested again by a medical professional on the spot.
But Harvard researchers warn temperature screenings could miss two-thirds of coronavirus cases. A reopening document from Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association says the screenings “have not proved to be 100% effective” but “can play a useful role in reassuring the travelling public.”
“This is not meant to catch everybody, it’s just another layer of protection that we have, on top of many other layers, to try to do all we can to make sure that our airports are clean, healthy, and safe,” says Justin Erbaci, LAX’s interim CEO.
Qatar Airways resumes LAX service next week. Its flight attendants are wearing head-to-toe PPE, but its CEO Akbar Al Baker calls pre-flight temperature checks “another PR exercise.” He says, “We are only doing this to satisfy ourselves. The science doesn’t prove that you need to do a temperature check, but we will do.”
Seattle’s Paine Field was the first U.S. airport to launch temperature checks. Frontier Airlines started screening passengers at boarding this month.