Etihad Airways will trial a new contactless technology that will help them identify passengers with medical conditions, potentially even those with early stages of the coronavirus. 

The system will be implemented via the existing kiosks that Etihad uses. These kiosks can already do everything in the check-in procedures, including processing upgrades, ancillary pitches and seat changes, in addition to boarding passes.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline is again partnering with Australian technology firm Elenium Automation to test the new concept later this month at its Abu Dhabi hub.

Elenium has been working with Etihad for some years now, mostly through automating the labour-intensive airport operations such as check-in and aircraft boarding.

Etihad Airways will trial health screening technology. Picture: Flickr/Riik@mctr

“[The technology can] monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touch point. Should a passenger show signs of illness, the system will automatically suspend check-in or bag-drop. It will then divert them to a teleconference or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travellers as appropriate.”

Etihad Airways

The screening will work via self-service kiosk devices which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person. These can be located across various airport touch points, from check-in and information kiosks, to bag drop facilities, to security points or at immigration gates.

“The system would screen every individual, including multiple people on the same booking. The technology can also be retrofitted into any airport kiosk or bag drop or installed as a desktop system at a passenger processing point, such as an immigration desk.”

Aaron Hornlimann, CEO Elenium Austomation
Elenium explains the process. Source: YouTube

“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.” Jorg Oppermann, Vice President Hub and Midfield Operations, Etihad Airways said.

The trials will begin at the start of May.

Screening of passengers is particularly in the wake of numerous flight crews contracting coronavirus around the world.