The Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti gave his COVID-19 update at the Tom Bradley Terminal, Garcetti announced the launch of the Terminal Pilot Program. Leadership on this initiative include CEO Justin hibachi, The President of the Board of Airport Sean Burton, and President of CEO of the Carlile Airport Group Amit Rikhy, and Nicholas May the Airport’s Segment Leader at Schneider Electric.
“Together we are investing an unprecedented amount of money in this airport, because there will be a day, post COVID-19, and we said for so long that this was an airport that needed to be world class whether as an neighbor, whether as an airport itself. and we seen huge investments, the largest investments of any airport in the United States of America.”
Garcetti presented a 14-billion-dollar plan to “re-imagine LAX and prepare it for the future.” The result of the plan created thousands of working-class jobs, which will be beneficial during a time of economic spiral. The construction has been accelerated according to the mayor, to secure income for staff members and airline leadership. Work has come through innovative ways, many were through programs looking at racial and economic justice. Candidates that may have been overlooked due to a conviction on record, or lack of a high school diploma have been hired based off building skill set and experience.
The mayor touched on the significance June 23 brings, LAX will begin piloting a thermal camera technology. The device will be able to track body temperatures of guests, noting anything that is over 100.3 degrees. Garcetti disclosed that fevers are one of the leading symptoms of coronavirus. He explained if a person is identified as having a fever, a staff member will approach the guest and request a secondary screening. The second test will be by a trained medical professional; they will check the guest again with a hand-held no contact thermometer. The goal is to stop the spread of COVID-19 as guest travel through central airports.
Travelers with confirmed fevers in the second screening will be advised not to travel. Arriving passengers that are stopped for a symptom check will be referred to CDC staff, there they will be able to quarantine. According to the mayor, this is a voluntary program, there will be signs where the thermal cameras noting where the cameras will be. They’re stationed in the Tom Bradley International corridors, at the main entrance of the departure/arrival levels. The mayor stated, “This is an additional layer of safety.”
Garcetti mentioned other airlines will require further screening, the CDC staff will continue to be on site at these central hubs conducting screenings for international arrivals with the potential for spreading the virus. The mayor reiterated the civilian responsibility of social distancing and uphold hygienic protocols to keep everyone safe. There are hand sanitizing stations available, in addition to a deep-cleaning of highly trafficked areas at the airport. The launch of these cameras within L.A. will be shared with the CDC, TSA, and with other airlines.
President Burton stated, “It is critical that we bring new technology and protocols to our airports as we recover from the greatest reduction in passenger traffic in the history of aviation, and transition to a new normal for air travel. As this is the case around the country and the world, passenger traffic at LAX has fallen to historic lows during this pandemic, with the number of guests in April lower than any other month since Jon F. Kennedy was President.”
With that in mind, it is imperative for the city’s economic progress to look at the opportunity airports must secure the safety of travelers amid a global pandemic. The search for a new normal continues, as the mayor teams up with leadership from different sectors to find a coherent strategy for the rebirth of city’s economy.