The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted international travel in ways that one could not have imagined. But as countries around the world begin to open their borders cautiously, here at Changi Airport, we have been focusing on enhancing our efforts to keep our passengers and airport workers safe. In our preparation to welcome the world as air travel gradually resumes, Changi has adopted new safety measures and continues to innovate to deliver safer travelling experiences for everyone passing through its gates.
Here’s a look at how we are embracing new travel norms to ensure an efficient and pleasant airport experience amid the Covid-19 global pandemic.
1. Contactless experiences throughout your journey
You’d probably have heard of the term ‘contactless’ countless of times this year. In an era where it’s a norm to sanitise your hands every time you touch a surface, and wear a mask wherever you go, it is no surprise that more businesses are offering contactless experiences to minimise health risks. As an important gateway connecting Singapore to the world, it is even more crucial for Changi Airport to step up its measures to restore confidence in air travel for travellers. Throughout your journey, from checking in to immigration clearance, Changi has implemented a series of contactless initiatives aimed at reducing unnecessary contact with surfaces.
If you’re checking in, you’ll find that the FAST check-in kiosks are now fitted with infrared proximity sensors which track finger movements. This means that you simply have to hover your fingers above the screens and make your selections without the need to touch them! As of now, more than 160 self-service kiosks across T1 and 3 are fitted with the sensors.
Need a toilet break? Although this is not new, it is timely to note that most toilets in the public areas at Changi Airport already offer door-less entry, auto-flush, auto-taps and auto-soap dispensers while others are being upgraded progressively. Changi is also currently conducting trials to introduce contactless passenger lift buttons, using similar infrared technology as the service kiosks. So, you can look forward to putting your mind at ease while using these facilities.
As you approach the immigration clearance, you’ll notice that the automated immigration gates have been fitted with a new multi-modal biometric system using facial and iris recognition. Passengers who have enrolled their facial and iris biometrics when they collected their passports at the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) can use this new system, where their passports and boarding passes will be scanned before the iris and facial scan cameras verify their identity. Fingerprint scanning is still available, but only if identification via iris and facial scans is unsuccessful, or if you have yet to enroll your iris and facial biometrics with the ICA.
2. Acrylic screens at various service counters
As an added layer of protection, acrylic screens are also installed at various service counters such as check-in counters manned by staff, immigration, customs and GST refund and information counters. Not to worry, as even with a physical barrier, you can be assured that our airport community is as warm and friendly as ever so if you need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to ask!
3. Cleaning robots with misting function to disinfect carpets
If you’ve travelled through or visited Changi before, chances are you would have chanced upon our Autonomous Cleaning Robots. These hardworking floor scrubbers can clean up to 1,600 sqm an hour and are designed to share the load with our cleaners to keep the airport spick and span. On top of scrubbing hard floors, they are now fitted with a misting attachment that will disinfect the carpets after they are cleaned!
Fun fact: A nod to Singapore’s multi-ethnic diversity, these robots are given personas that’re reflective of their ethnicity. In Chinese, there are Liang Liang and Jing Jing (together they are 亮晶晶 which means clean and shiny in Mandarin). In Malay, there are Bersih (clean) and Putih (white) and in Tamil, Minnal (very clean) and Palich Palich (lightning).
4. Disinfection of travellator and escalator handrails using Ultraviolet C LED technology
Another initiative that’s on trial is the disinfection of travellator and escalator handrails using Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) LED technology. Known as an effective disinfectant to eliminate pathogens, germicidal UV-C light is emitted from a device installed in the skirt frame of the travellator and escalator handrails. So as the handrails move over the device, the UV-C light would automatically sterilise the handrails to keep them pathogen-free.
5. Safe distancing and enhanced cleaning initiatives in the terminals and Jewel Changi Airport
Safe distancing measures are also implemented throughout the airport, such as alternating equipment (check-in and service kiosks, baggage belts etc.) and seats in gate hold rooms, snooze lounges and F&B outlets. Cleaning frequency within the terminals and Jewel Changi Airport has also increased. For longer-term protection against viruses, frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and trolley bar handles have been sprayed with a protective anti-microbial coating. Across all terminals and Jewel, you will also find more than 1,200 sensor-activated hand sanitisers available for use.
With these measures in place, we hope to provide passengers and visitors peace of mind when visiting or travelling through Changi. While we do not know when the pandemic will be over, we’re committed to doing our best to make air travel safer for everyone.