“Other airports have used it,” said Khaled Naja, airport executive vice president for infrastructure and development. “This is the first time that an airport facility has actually used it at all airport facilities.”
Deep within the airport basement, air circulates through a total of 933 units. Each of the units contains blue light designed to kill both bacteria and viruses. The massive project took a total of two years to complete.
“The air circulates five to seven times an hour through the system and as it’s circulating, it just gets zapped so all the pathogens disappear,” explained Naja.
The airport not only installed the blue light within the air units, but also within some of the baby changing tables. When the baby changing table is upright, the blue light sanitizes the table for the next child.
Natalie Allen, from Dallas, was both surprised and relieved by the installation of the blue light as she changed her 14-month-old daughter’s diaper.
“I think a lot of people might be nervous to start traveling again after COVID so it’s nice to know they’re putting in measures to keep it safe and clean for everybody,” Allen said as her daughter waved goodbye to NBC reporters.
Blue light is effective for killing not just respiratory viruses like COVID but also bacteria as well. Research as early as 2008 has shown that blue light destroys Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a highly contagious form of staph infection.
Moreover, the FDA approved blue light to kill acne in 2002. Acne, which is caused by bacteria, can be reduced within minutes of blue light treatment.
Even though the $9 million dollar investment is located out of sight of most DFW airport customers, Naja insists that protecting customers’ health and safety is a top priority.
“Most people have no idea about our innovation record,” he said. “But what we do is we do it all behind the scenes and we do it to take care of our customers.”