Airport Cleaning: Essential Workers Keeping Conditions Clear for Takeoff

Airport terminal with airplane

Airport Cleaning: Essential Workers Keeping Conditions Clear for Takeoff

It’s not all clear skies ahead for the air travel industry these days. Large scale facilities like airports face a maintenance dilemma. The more people you serve and business you conduct, the more complex and thorough a cleaning routine must be. 

Thorough cleaning is essential to any business model, ensuring customers are satisfied and safe in your facility. Throw in a pandemic, and the stakes for success are raised considerably. Air travel is down 70% from this time last year. Keeping passengers feeling safe about sanitation and disinfection efforts is imperative to their return.

What Does an Airport Cleaning Team Do?

Any airport janitor may have to wear multiple hats during a day at work, as there is a large range of surfaces to be cleaned. Multiple jobs may require them to be skilled with different tools and equipment. For example, surface cleaning can range from touch screen kiosks, handrails, tables, armrests, countertops, buttons, door handles, windows, and more.

Airports also serve food, requiring cleansing of tables, chairs, and kitchen equipment. Bathrooms require surface cleaning, disinfection, garbage removal, and replenishment of toilet paper, paper towels, etc. At the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, they have over 1,300 toilets to maintain at all hours alone. In addition to routine tasks, there are other parts of an airport that still need attention by custodial staff. This can include outdoor maintenance such as landscaping and parking lot sweeping.

Among these, perhaps the biggest task to tackle is floor cleaning. Denver International Airport, the largest airport in the United States, has over six million square feet of public space to maintain. Back at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, their team uses over 160,200 gallons of floor cleaner each year to clean the immense space. In addition to the vast amount of public space, airports can contain several different types of flooring on different floors with different foot traffic patterns. Floors need to be constantly monitored and cleaned as every single customer encounters and interacts with the facility’s floors. Spills may occur requiring quick spot treatment and could make slipping hazards if not dealt with in a timely manner. With the sheer size of flooring in an airport, tending to these areas and prioritizing tasks can be a challenging feat.

Why Airport Cleaning Maintenance is Important

For an airport, presentation and cleanliness of the facility can be the determining factor on whether a customer decides to come back. Flying is an experience-based service, and that experience starts inside the airport. In addition, the travel industry is tightly competitive where slight differences could influence the revenue margins. When passengers are relaxed and enjoying the space they are in, they tend to spend more and stay longer. The job of a janitor is so important because routine airport cleaning contributes to the experience and safety of the customer, from the floors they walk on to the tables they eat and drink on.

With current events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, airport cleanliness and safety is more important than ever. When the airline industry begins to see business rise again, a customer’s top priority will be on their safety from the virus. By properly disinfecting its facilities, airports can show both employees and customers that they prioritize their health and safety. This very mission begins with those on the janitorial staff.

The Need for Change in Commercial Floor Cleaning

Various jobs within the janitorial profession are dangerously repetitive and require a great deal of time, coordination, and resources. For example, not only does cleaning floors manually cause physical strain, but it is inefficient in the scope of all the cleaning that needs to be completed in an airport. At the peak of air travel, there were over 2.5 million travelers in the US traveling through airports in one day. With the possibility of consistent high traffic like this, a better alternative may be needed for the demands of airport floor cleaning.

While we have moved on from mops and brooms to some machinery in airport cleaning, most floor cleaning tools always require human control. An autonomous floor cleaning machine offers faster cleaning times and less human operation, resulting in better efficiency and lower physical strain on the workers.

Discovery Robotics recognizes the need for improved floor cleaning technology, and has responded with the FX250, an autonomous floor cleaning robot. With an interchangeable tool system including a vacuum and sweeper, this robot was designed to take the strain off of cleaning staff. By taking care of the floors, custodial staff are free to tend to other tasks, leaving behind the physical toll floor cleaning previously took.

Discovery Robotics’ mission is to increase human productivity, safety, and quality of life by creating robotic solutions. Learn more about us today. For questions or more information, please contact us at

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