Incheon Airport’s Response to COVID-19

While the key standards of a “global hub airport” up until now have been service, safety, and network, “infectious disease control and prevention” are expected to become new standards.

Incheon Airport, which was the first organization to begin fighting COVID-19, is focusing on stopping the virus through meticulous disease control and prevention so that passengers can feel safe when they come to the airport.

This post looks at the history of disease control and prevention in Incheon Airport and how Incheon Airport is preparing for the era post-COVID-19.

(* This post is based on activities that are being performed as it is written, and there may be some changes in the disease control and prevention system against COVID-19 depending on the situation.)

Incheon Airport, ‘distancing from the virus’ with meticulous disease control and prevention!

Incheon Airport has implemented systematic disease control and prevention since the early days of COVID-19 with the aim of creating a “safe and clean airport” that is free of the dangers of COVID-19.

A strict disease control and prevention network has been established in a multifaceted way that involves thoroughly disinfecting wherever people’s hands touch within the airport, creating a step-by-step arrival/departure process to identify anyone with symptoms, and introducing smart robots to detect fevers without person-to-person contact. Let’s delve into it, shall we?

(1) The world’s first airport to implement disease control and prevention across the entire terminal

No matter how big the airport is, you cannot overlook disease control and prevention. Incheon Airport was the world’s first airport to implement disease control and prevention across the entire terminal. The private sector, public sector, and military, including cleaning staff, airport operators, screening healthcare workers, and soldiers, have come together to fully implement disease control and prevention. They have received positive evaluations for setting a good example for overcoming a crisis.

(2) Strengthening disinfection and sanitation in major facilities

Incheon Airport has garnered great attention for “wiping out everything. Not only does Incheon Airport carry out meticulous disease control and prevention activities at least 3 times a day in major facilities like elevators, bathrooms, floors, and ceilings, it also makes hand sanitizer available across the entire airport such as at check-in counters and in restaurants to prioritize convenience and safety for passengers.

(3) Three-step fever detection for departing passengers

If you have a fever, unfortunately, you cannot depart from the airport. Incheon Airport implements a three-step fever detection system for every passenger, from arrival at the airport to boarding the plane, with thermal imaging cameras and thermometers: (1) Entry into the terminal → (2) Departure area → (3) Boarding gate. This is a preemptive measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even though it may be somewhat inconvenient, it requires active cooperation from passengers.

(4) Special arrival procedure for arriving passengers

The “special arrival procedure” has been put in place for arriving passengers, not just those leaving the country. The special arrival procedure refers to receiving a health questionnaire from all arriving passengers at the time of arrival, checking their address and contact information in Korea, and monitoring their health condition for 14 days through a mobile self-diagnosis app. These are necessary measures to protect arriving passengers and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in local communities by preemptively detecting whether arriving passengers are infected with the disease.

(5) Introduction of smart fever-detecting robots/kiosks

Untact fever-detecting services based on robots and kiosks have been piloted recently in Incheon Airport. Four “fever-detecting robots” (three in Terminal 1 and one in Terminal 2) have been installed near departure check-in counters in Incheon Airport. When a passenger approaches the robot, it measures the passenger’s temperature with its thermal imaging camera. If a fever is detected, its screen informs the passenger about what actions to take if they have any symptoms, including contacting the airline. It also features untact hand sanitizing. One “fever-detecting kiosk” is established near both Terminals 1 and 2, always checking for fevers of multiple passengers nearby and sounding an alarm if a fever is detected.

Incheon Airport’s Implementation of a “Socially Responsible Infectious Disease Control and Prevention” System to Help Local Communities Overcome COVID-19

Incheon Airport does not just implement disease control and prevention across the airport, but it also has continued to perform various social responsibility activities for local communities facing unprecedented difficulties due to COVID-19. Our support can be divided into the two categories of supplies and funds.

(1) Support in the form of masks & hand sanitizers for local child centers and protection facilities in Incheon

Due to COVID-19, it has become important to obtain preventative supplies such as masks and hand sanitizers. Incheon Airport offered support in the form of masks and hand sanitizers to local child centers and protection facilities in Incheon, first and foremost. We provided 63,000 masks and 1,000 hand sanitizers to 4,500 registered children and worked with ChildFund Korea to deliver supplies to 173 facilities.

(2) Support in the form of medical supplies for disease control and prevention to 41 elderly welfare facilities in Daegu

In March and April, elderly welfare facilities experienced difficulties as a cluster of infections sprung up in Daegu. We provided disease control and prevention supplies, such as 80 medical devices like oxygen generators and disinfectant water generators (electrolyzed water generator) and 1,200 disinfectant sprays, to 41 elderly welfare facilities for strengthening COVID-19 disease control and prevention and preventing infection of facility users.

(3) Delivery of 95,500 public masks to frontline airport workers

We provided 95,500 public masks (KF94) to frontline airport workers who could possibly come into contact with passengers (security workers, security check workers, cleaning workers, fire workers, etc.). Thanks to our efforts, not one employee among 70,000 in Incheon Airport contracted the disease from late January to late April when the number of cases coming from abroad increased!

(4) Support in the form of emergency funds to small business owners to stabilize their businesses

Incheon Airport also provided a total of KRW 1 billion in emergency funds to 200 small business owners across the country experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. After review, 200 businesses were finally selected out of the 399 applicants. The review prioritized not only small business owners in Incheon but also businesses hit hard by COVID-19 such as travel, education and service, event agencies, and flower facilities as recommended by the government.

In this post, we looked at the meticulous disease control and prevention system and local community support activities of Incheon Airport, which is fully prepared for COVID-19. Until COVID-19 is eradicated and the country’s economy is back on its feet, Incheon Airport will do its best as the gate to Korea to prevent any possible COVID-19 threat with strict disease control and prevention!

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