It’s without doubt, the sudden impact of COVID-19 in 2020 forced everyone around the world to transform how they interact with their customers – and how they will trade going forward as the world slowly adapts to the ‘new normal’.
No one saw this coming; this unprecedented pandemic has forced all businesses around the world to resolve social distancing issues moving forward in order to survive financially.
One sector that has seen an enormous hit is aviation, with flights cancelled across the world, almost overnight. This situation has obviously had a knock-on effect for airports, which are now working at very low capacities. As an example, Heathrow Airport passenger traffic for January 2021 was down 89%* on the same period last year.
For Heathrow Airport, social distancing screens are at the top of the list is for the safety of millions of travellers each month, as well as the staff working in the terminals.
In early April 2020, we were approached by the team at Heathrow Airport to look at safety guard solutions that could be integrated into areas where significant interaction between people takes place, including bag search areas, baggage carousels and security lanes.
The safety screens needed to be incredibly robust, with a framework to fit existing desks, clear polycarbonate screening, as well as stations that would need to allow for document pass-over between staff and passenger.
Due to the flexibility of the MiniTec profile system and ease of the design capability, we created prototypes for the safety screens within two weeks, working with the on-site engineers to design, create CAD drawings and produce initial solutions for testing. Even through the difficult circumstances for all involved, we remained incredibly responsive, supplying six prototypes and delivering over 80 units for installation at the airport during the same month.
As a result, we are extremely proud to have been rewarded with Tier 1 Supplier status for Heathrow Airport and look forward to working more with this fantastic airport in the future as things gradually return to normal.