San Jose Airport Installs Virus-Zapping Lights on Escalator Handrails

Mineta San Jose International Airport

Leave it to Silicon Valley's air hub to go high-tech when it comes to sanitizing surfaces.

Mineta San Jose International Airport has invested in a virus-zapping technology for the handrails on its many escalators, the airport said Wednesday.

SJC has installed new ultraviolet light (UVC) devices on all its escalator handrails. Schindler’s Ultra UV Pro lights continuously disinfect surfaces by killing up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, restoring a freshly sanitized surface for each person to grasp, the airport says.

"Safety continues to be our top priority, and the pandemic has provided opportunities to explore new tools and approaches," SJC Director of Aviation John Aitken said in a statement. "With this new UV technology, we not only ensure that all escalator handrails in our terminals remain safe and sanitized, we also offer assurance that it is safe to hold on to handrails to prevent falls without the worry of coming into contact with germs."

The handrail devices, which use an invisible dual UVC light to destroy bacteria and viruses, are housed within the escalator handrail framework, which means the UVC light won't affect passengers, the airport said.

The new UVC lights are the latest in safety measures deployed at SJC in response to the pandemic. The airport also requires face coverings in all airport facilities; regularly deep-cleans throughout the terminals; provides hand sanitizing stations in high-touch-point areas; has installed plexiglass shields at ticket counters, gate podiums and baggage claim offices; has posted social distancing signage as reminders; and has installed partitions in restrooms between faucets and urinals.

For more information about SJC’s health and safety measures, visit

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