Airports to remove most restroom sinks

Measure will save $38 million a year in U.S. airports

BOGATA, Colombia -- At the annual convention of the International Association of Airport Operators (IAAO) held here this week, this trade organization of the world's largest airport operators announced that its members will take sweeping measures to reduce the cost of operating their facilities. Among the most noteworthy of these is a plan to remove 85 percent of restroom sinks—278,300 in all—in the terminals they operate.

According to Ronni Petricelli, spokesperson for the IAAO, "The measure will save airport operators an estimated US$177 million annually in maintenance, repair, cleaning and water usage. Operators of U.S. based airports alone will save US$38 million."

A prototype of how a typical airport restroom might appear after renovations was unveiled at the convention (see photo above) and was overwhelmingly met with positive reviews by IAAO members.

Citing a comprehensive study of over 67,600 domestic and international passengers which was completed last year by the Swedish-based consulting firm, Munpertoog LTC, Petricelli said, "We have learned that 94.7 percent of airport restroom users don't wash their hands after using the toilets or urinals. Consequently we can remove most of the sinks, and it will have no effect on restroom throughput efficiencies."

This measure by airport operators comes on the heals of recent cost cutting measures such as adjusting thermostats in concourses (higher in the summer, lower in the winter), eliminating water fountains, removing a third of the lamps from waiting area lighting and even reducing the hours of operation in some airports.

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