As the holiday travel season approaches, Pittsburgh International has taken additional steps to keep both travelers and employees safe as they move through the airport.
In addition to requiring face coverings, setting up social distancing markers and adding hand sanitizing stations, airport employees have traced the different paths passengers take to all parts of the airport and identified areas where a risk of exposure to COVID-19 could be greatest, such as high touchpoint areas.
“We learned a lot,” said Jason Timmerman, vice president of Environmental and Workplace Safety. “Our goal after that assessment was to determine the proper preventative or precautionary measures we could take.”
One of the areas identified was the train that carries passengers between the airside and landside terminals. Although Pittsburgh-themed social distancing decals were already on the loading platforms, the airport placed numerous decals in each transit car and now has an announcement reminding passengers to follow precautions.
To avoid possible over-crowding, the transits now arrive at the same loading platforms just a few seconds behind each other. That way, there is little wait for the next transit.
After completing their work on passenger journeys, the team also traced the common paths employees take.
“There’s too much at risk not to,” said Travis McNichols, vice president of Public Safety. “We’ve implemented a robust plan to ensure that all customers, visitors and employees have the most up-to-date information. Safety has been, and always will be, our top priority.”
The additional steps continue the airport’s “Safe Travels” initiative to increase public confidence in air travel and airports. The program draws on best practices for reducing the spread of germs and additional measures as prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among the Safe Travels changes: more than 2,000 social distancing decals, 130 plexiglass panels, 19,000 masks and four UV-equipped floor scrubbers. The airport has reconfigured the seating at gates and makes health and safety public address announcements every 15 minutes.
Although traffic will likely be down about 50 percent this holiday season compared to years past, officials are still expecting the last week of November to be among the busiest of the year for arrivals and departures.