Guam airport to buy thermal camera system to detect elevated temperatures from incoming passengers


The Guam International Airport is planning to purchase a thermal scanning camera system to detect whether any arriving passengers have elevated temperatures that might be an indication of their exposure to the coronavirus.

“The airport is going to procure it,” said GIAA Executive Director Tom Ada on K57’s ‘Mornings with Patti’ program.

Ada said he is meeting with the provider of the thermal cameras today and “the airport will be procuring it and setting it up,” he said.

A thermal camera system could cost between ten and twenty thousand dollars, said Ada.

The biggest concern right now is “how soon can we get one in,” he said noting that there has “been a run on these cameras” in recent weeks.

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“They’re not necessarily shelf items,” and it may take a couple of weeks to procure the system and install it.

Following Ada’s comments on K57, the governor’s office issued a release saying that the thermal scanners ‘will add an additional security layer and may be used beyond the COVID-19 (coronavirus) threat.’

Loss of fees

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has prompted 3 Korean airlines to cancel flights this month, and that will result in a loss of fees for the airport said Ada.

GIAA has not yet felt the impact because arrivals in December and January were higher than expected “so we’re kind of riding on that cushion to absorb the cancellations,” said Ada.  “Of course if this thing continues it will impact the airport’s revenues,” he said.

The airport will suffer a loss of landing fees, a loss in the $4 passenger facility charge, and a loss in the customs service fee.

“We’re definitely leaning forward and we’re going to be tightening our budget belt,” said Ada, “starting with our operating budget.” He said some projects might be deferred and travel expenses cut.

READ the release from the Governor’s office in FULL below:

Joint News Release
February 21, 2020
11:30 a.m (ChST)

Guam Airport to Equip Facility with Thermal Scanners

As part of its mission to provide a safe and secure facility for visitors, staff, and the people of Guam, the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority, Guam (GIAA) continues to do its part to prevent the onset of COVID-19 locally. Part of this effort includes procuring thermal scanners for screening of passengers.

“We are looking at the highest and best use equipment that works for our airport,” stated GIAA Executive Manager Tom Ada. “Collaborative efforts with all responding agencies on this issue will determine the end product on which to invest and equip our airport facility,” he continued. “Our intention is to fast track the delivery and installation to strengthen our safety measures.”

Thermal scanners will add an additional security layer and may be used beyond the COVID-19 threat. The technology can detect body temperature and identify “hotspots” or congestive conditions to alert airport officials to a situation within the facility. Guam officials continue to follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. federal government.

Ada stated, “Going forward, the airport, in collaboration with Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam Customs and Quarantine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, and other regulatory partners, will be holding briefings with direct contact tenants and workers at the airport. We will be discussing the importance of good hygiene and disinfectant measures for widely used surfaces, such as forms counters and biometric finger pads.”

The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) continues to monitor Guam’s source markets and share relevant information with travelers and the tourism industry. Earlier this week, GVB hosted a briefing for industry stakeholders.

“We’re all in this together and working very closely with our government and private partners,” said GVB President and CEO Pilar Laguaña. “Guam, along with the rest of the world, is taking this threat seriously. This situation is rapidly changing, and we are constantly adjusting to it. GVB’s role is to monitor and share information. While we may be seeing some cancellations, we are in close communication with our overseas and local partners to ensure our visitors that precautionary measures are being taken as we continue to extend the Håfa Adai spirit.”

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there are no cases that meet the CDC criteria for a Person Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Guam. Guam is carefully assessing the situation as it evolves. With any change in status, anticipate timely notification.