Los Angeles International Airport Deploys Thermal Cameras to Identify Travelers with High Body Temperature

Los Angeles–Mayor Eric Garcetti today joined Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) leadership to launch the Terminal Wellness Project deploying thermal camera technology that can help identify travelers with an elevated body temperature –– the latest measure in the city’s continuing response to the COVID-19 health crisis. 

image credit: Mayor Garcetti’s Office

Prior to the pandemic, LAX was the third busiest airport in the world and moved a record 88.1 million travelers in 2019. In April, passenger traffic at LAX was more than 95% below what it was a year earlier. 

Starting June 23, thermal cameras will be deployed at two locations inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal –– at the main entrance on the departures level and inside the terminal near select international arrivals –– with both arriving and departing passengers screened. The cameras are designed to rapidly identify people with body temperatures of 100.4 degrees or more, which is the current guideline for detecting a fever set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is a voluntary program with signage alerting passengers where this trial will take place. If a voluntary participant is identified as having an elevated body temperature, a medical professional near the camera operator will approach the identified person and request a secondary screening using a handheld, non-contact thermometer. Departing guests who are identified as having an elevated body temperature will be advised that they should not travel. Passengers on arriving international flights identified as being potentially ill may be referred to CDC staff on site.

These thermal camera temperature checks will not replace other safety measures in place. To protect guest privacy, the cameras will not store, transmit, or share any data or images taken. Guests who decline to participate will have the opportunity to use a different pathway.

The airport will work closely with multiple partners to evaluate the technology including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airlines, CDC, and L.A. County Department of Public Health, and results from this program will be shared with these partners and leading airports around the world in an effort to set new standards for the industry.   

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