Long Island MacArthur Airport is joining the war against COVID-19 in a big way.
The Islip airport will become the first airport in the world to install and activate new systems to continuously sanitize air and surfaces in the airport’s facilities, town officials said Thursday.
The airport will employ an air sanitizing system that extracts oxygen and moisture from ambient air and uses a natural catalytic converter process to produce and deliver trace levels of hydrogen peroxide to indoor spaces.
Safe to people, pets, plants, and equipment, the Continuous Air and Surface Pathogen Reduction (CASPR) system reduces pathogens by over 99% within 24 hours, and continues to reduce and eliminate viruses, bacteria, mold and fungi in the air and on surfaces as long as the technology is running, town officials said.
“[The airpot] has been working hard to help facilitate economic recovery in our region following the Covid-19 crisis,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said. “We expect to do this in a way that is wise, based on science and fact, and makes our customers and employees feel completely safe returning to air travel.”
The CASPR system is already used in hospitals and medical facilities. Unlike chemical or ultraviolet sanitation options, CASPR’s Natural Catalytic Converter method produces trace levels of hydrogen peroxide that are comparable to levels found in nature.
“Our airlines realize the importance of a complete commitment to customers’ health and safety to inspire a comfortable return to travel in the months ahead,” MacArthur Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken. “Long Island also understands the need to innovate with sanitation plans to be ready to welcome back travelers in a way that is wise in the new environment.
LaRose-Arken said the sanitation system will cover gate areas, the security checkpoint, ticket counters and the baggage claim area.
Here’s a video that explains how CASPR works:
The airport also announced its order for Silver Defender Anti-Microbial film wraps, which will be applied to door handles and other high-touch surfaces, such as handles and bathroom fixtures. Silver Defender films’ only active ingredients are silver ions, which are harmless to humans, but kill all microbes, including superbugs, officials said. The airport expects to install them in June.
“CASPR and Silver Defender are the perfect combination to keep MacArthur Airport passengers and employees as free from exposure to viruses and bacteria as possible,” Deputy Airport Commissioner Rob Schneider said.
Town officials said MacArthur Airport’s evaluation team researched several pathogen reduction options, including enhanced chemical methods, hydrostatic misters, ultraviolet light and natural catalytic conversion. Leadership established four key criteria.
“While all the methods we evaluated have proven pathogen reduction properties, almost all require additional staffing or operating costs, do not allow for continuous operation in occupied spaces, and treat surfaces but not the air.” Schneider said. “Only CASPR met all four criteria.”