Escalating Safety throughout Airport Terminals

Guest Author by Guest Author | Dec 3, 2021

By Sidney Kuipers, Director, Escalator Modernization Engineering & Supply, KONE

Let us start with stating the obvious. The pandemic has impacted all our lives to some extent. We are social beings, yet had to face social distancing, “the box” instead of handshakes and hugs, working from home with endless Zoom or Teams meetings, and in some parts of the world, terribly long and painful lockdowns. And although we are soon two years down the pandemic road, it seems we are stuck with this virus for a while longer still—if it ever disappears at all.

We, as human beings, can be stuck in our ways but we are also capable of remarkable and widely carried adaptability and ingenuity. The various measures that countries and policy makers have taken, and followed by citizens’ response behaviors, have definitely led to “flattening the curves.” Also, our ability in applying technology such as different kinds of apps, tests (especially for the vaccines development and deployment), have allowed us to resume living our lives as “normal” as possible. Slowly, but surely, we see air travel being normalized and we all hope this normalization continues.

The aviation industry has a responsibility in limiting the spread of the virus, as we know that it, too, is keen on travelling by air. As a community we have done a great job thus far, which has allowed us to resume air travel gradually. A big part of our fight against the virus is hygiene including personal hygiene such as best practices when coughing and sneezing, and public hygiene such as making sure surfaces are cleaned properly.

Promoting safety on all fonts

When researching for this blog, I came across an animation publicized by the World Health Organization on the topic of “virus transmission.” In general, it gives great advice and best practices. At some point during the animation, it advises to avoid touching surfaces in public as they might have been contaminated by someone with the virus. While this is valid advice, the best practice is visually depicted by an escalator, encouraging users to not hold the rail—thus going directly against basic safety measures. This was a trigger for me to immediately ask our Safety representatives to communicate the overlook with the World Health Organization.

Now I would like to address this to you as well. Dear airport community, please make sure that we encourage everyone to hold the handrail while using an escalator! This is essential for the safe usage of these mass transportation devices. We know from field data that more than half of all escalator incidents are related to passenger misusing the equipment and that most of these incidents could have been avoided by simply holding the escalator handrail. At the same time, we understand the need to provide a safe surface of the escalator handrail, as it presents the risk of cross-contamination between users.

To promote holding the handrail and a safe surface for the user, we at KONE have applied our innovative DNA and created a solution that does just that. We have the responsibility to provide a solution that effectively cleans the escalator handrail so users can be and feel safe when using the escalator. This solution is called the KONE Handrail Sanitizer Premium. It provides three-way safety by applying brushes, a strong UVC LED light, and automatic and continuous liquid-based cleaning. We are especially proud of the performance of the solution which reduces both bacteria and viruses effectively and quickly. These results are validated by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT).

Promoting confidence and trust

We designed the KONE Handrail Sanitizer Premium with three core values at its heart: effectiveness, safety, and visibility. The stylish device, designed with an internal TFT display, is placed at the entrance side of an escalator so entrapment risk is eliminated. The fact that this device is visible from the entrance side of the escalator, provides visibility of ongoing sanitation and sends a message to users that the airport cares about their safety – thus helping to build confidence and trust.

I am personally convinced the hygiene of public surfaces will remain a very valid topic in post-pandemic times. KONE provides the right solution to ensure safe usage of the escalator both in preventing accidents as well as in the health and wellbeing of the users. Let us act now to ensure we apply these safety-enhancing solutions in airports worldwide and contribute to fighting the virus while encouraging people to travel again.


This is sponsored content. Sponsored content is provided by third parties including airports, members of ACI, World Business Partners, and others. The views expressed and/or presented by these third parties through sponsored content are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of ACI, its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

Blog post written by Sidney Kuipers, Director, Escalator Modernization Engineering & Supply, KONE

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