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Infrared technology monitoring Heathrow's runways

A new hi-tech camera system has been installed at London Heathrow Airport this week to monitor potentially hazardous material on runways.

Utilising infrared technology, the new system is supplied by the UK-based technology company QinetiQ. Specialised cameras with night vision technology have been fitted to radars that scan the runways round the clock. This will enable the airport's airfield safety unit to identify and remove debris.

The upgrade in technology coincides with the installation of the Tarsier system on Heathrow's north runway after being successfully used on the south runway since June 2008.

Colin Wood, director of airside operations at Heathrow, said: "The safety and security of Heathrow's two runways is our single most important priority and we are always looking for innovative technology to build on the robust systems already in place.

"This upgrade to the Tarsier system is an excellent addition to our airside safety regime, which keeps the airport's busy runways safe. The addition of cameras that can be used day and night means that our people can instantly identify debris, even down to something as small as a suitcase wheel, and respond quickly, minimising any disruption to the normal operation of the airport."

Paul McLachlan, managing director of QinetiQ Airport Technologies, added: "We are delighted that the UK's flagship airport has embraced this new technology from QinetiQ. As an airport operating at the very highest safety standard, we are confident that the Tarsier camera will help keep Heathrow at the forefront of airport safety."

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October 9, 2009