Thanks to COVID-19, only four flights take off or land at Long Island’s MacArthur Airport each day, down 89% since the pandemic began.
But officials there say a new device installed in locations around the terminal Friday could have big implications for airports around the country.
It goes by the name CASPR – Continuous Air and Surface Pathogen Reduction – and it kills 99.9 percent of all pathogens that live on surfaces and in the air, according to MacArthur Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken, who believes that the technology may help bring back passengers whose health concerns have kept them away from air travel.
How does it work? CASPR converts oxygen and moisture into hydrogen peroxide, which is then released into the air to attack any pathogens present.
“It’s not new, it’s proven in the medical environment and there’s data behind it,” said airport consultant Edward Shelswell-White. He said that hospitals now use CASPR, and the levels of hydrogen peroxide are not harmful – but are enough to make the airport safer in the age of coronavirus.
LaRose-Arken said that MacArthur is the first airport in the world to use the technology. Eight units were installed in key areas around the terminal, at a cost to the town of Islip of roughly $10,000.
“We have to do things based on science and fact and always what’s right for people and the traveling public,” said Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
Despite MacArthur being a smaller airport, officials insist that CASPR will be effective at larger facilities like JFK and LaGuardia Aiports. They added that only when all airports adopt this or similar kinds of safety measures, will the public truly feel better about traveling once again.