Passengers are being scanned by new thermal cameras at all entrances and exits at Cape Town International Airport.
Passengers are being scanned by new thermal cameras at all entrances and exits at Cape Town International Airport.

Airport installs screening cameras

By Asanda Sokanyile Time of article published Sep 19, 2020

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Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) now boast thermal cameras to easily detect travellers’ temperatures to help confirm that they are Covid-19 free.

Airports Company SA (Acsa) spokesperson Deidre Davids said the thermal cameras will be located at all entrances to the terminal building.

Systems are set up to sound an alarm if the person’s temperature is too high. Screening can be done while passengers are passing the cameras and they would not need to stop for screening.

According to Chris Bainter, vice president of business development at FLIR, a commercial company specialising in the design and production of thermal imaging cameras, said: “The ability of thermal-camera technology to take instant readings has quickly made it a preferred tool for frontline screening.

’’Emirates Airlines has a similar system running, with temperature screening for passengers travelling on US and UK flights departing from Dubai International Airport, a signal that such measures may represent the ‘new normal’ in air travel.”

Meanwhile, the tourism sector is one of the province’s biggest economic drivers, experienced a massive decline of 67% under hard lockdown, with job losses in the Western Cape estimated at more than 100 000. CTIA is one of three airports in SA which will be allowed to open for international travel under level 1.

While Statistics SA has not yet released unemployment figures for the second quarter, the Department of Finance and Economic Opportunities said it estimates that at least 77 314 jobs in the tourism sector are at risk.

According to Francine Higham, spokesperson for the provincial Department of Finance and Economic Opportunities, since the recommencement of inter-provincial leisure travel in August 2020, domestic flights to and from Cape Town have seen a considerable increase with the three airlines currently serving the CTIA – Airlink, FlySafair and Mango – providing a combined frequency of 314 domestic flights a week.

“The relaxation of restrictions on international travel, and the certainty that borders will open on the October 1, is a welcome relief to the tourism and hospitality industry who have been hard-hit by the Covid-19 restrictions and are dependent on international travellers who contribute significantly to the tourism and hospitality sectors in the Western Cape,” said Higham.

Deon Cloete, general manager of the CTIA said: “We see an average of 50 flights a day operate from the airport, with Friday being our busiest day. We have worked hard to ensure that the airport is able to safely facilitate passengers and are pleased with the results.

’’Our focus remains on ensuring a safe and efficient airport experience. We continue to work with the airlines and the industry at large in order to build much-needed passenger confidence.”

The City’s tourism task team is now implementing the Tourism Bounce-Back-Strategy to ensure the city’s tourism and related sectors get back on their feet as soon as possible.

Weekend Argus

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