HIA first airport in region to be awarded 5-star Covid-19 airport rating by Skytrax

Doha: Hamad International Airport has become the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a 5-Star Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating by Skytrax. The audit evaluated how effectively COVID-19 policies are implemented at Qatar’s airport against the Skytrax COVID-19 safety rating standards.

The COVID-19 on-site audit was conducted over 3 days in October and is based on a combination of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests, which measures the contamination of contact surfaces. The consistency of standards has been a key determinant in the final rating applied.

The Audit evaluated and verified the practicality and usefulness of physical distancing protocols, as well as the quality and availability of hand hygiene facilities across HIA’s terminal. The audit also assessed cleaning effectiveness and identified any potential contamination sources to ensure that the airport’s hygiene standards are complying with the most stringent requirements.

During the audit, Skytrax inspected and evaluated the standards of staff personal protective equipment (PPE) and their adherence to using them, as well as the implementation of thermal temperature screening procedures, face mask regulations and the overall cleanliness and hygiene standards across the airport.

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport said: “We are proud that our COVID-19 policies and protocols are recognized by Skytrax and that we are the first in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Rating. Since the inauguration of Hamad International Airport in 2014, Skytrax ranking has always played an important role in HIA’s self-assessment and served as a quality benchmark to keep up with passenger expectations and operational excellence. HIA prides itself on its status as a 5-Star Airport for the fourth consecutive year, and a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport by Skytrax.”

The Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Rating provides an independent analysis of an airport's COVID-19 hygiene and safety measures, assessing over 400 factors in a typical airport travel sequence. Conducted over a few days, auditors test and evaluate the airport’s COVID-19 procedures on-site.

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “Hamad International Airport has achieved great success in delivering COVID-19 protocols that are providing a safe environment for customers and staff. In areas such as hand hygiene and social distancing, Hamad International Airport has good procedures in place. The airport is also meeting high standards of sanitisation across the high-contact points. The consistency of COVID-19 safety procedures and systems is excellent, and this is a critical factor behind being able to certify Hamad International Airport with the 5-star COVID-19 Safety Rating.”

As Qatar’s state-of-the-art hub continuously prioritizes passenger convenience and safety, the airport recently installed 15 PPE vending machines across its terminal to ensure passengers can easily access various disposable and washable PPE equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and face shield products. Physical distancing floor stickers are installed in front of every PPE vending machine to safeguard passengers safety.

HIA also invested in Smart Screening Helmets - wearable intelligent helmets that are portable, safe, and effective in enabling contactless temperature measurement. This is in addition to UV disinfectant robots, which are fully autonomous mobile devices, emitting concentrated UV-C light that eliminates the majority of infectious microorganisms. The robots are being deployed in vulnerable high passenger flow areas to reduce the spread of pathogens.

Additionally, HIA recently installed C2 technology, the latest security screening system, which is a significant counter COVID-19 measure, that reduces possible cross-contamination in passenger carry-on bags. The implementation of the technology elevates the airport’s hygiene standards, by limiting human contact at security checkpoints, making the process safer and faster for both staff and passengers.

HIA is also one of the few global airports to offer a contactless and paperless airport experience with the introduction of biometric identification technology, in addition to touchless elevator keys.

HIA maintains stringent cleaning procedures in line with international standards. The airport continues to implement a 1.5m physical distancing across all passenger touchpoints around the airport, through floor markings, signage, and distanced seating.

All passenger touchpoints are sanitized regularly and all gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. The airport also conducts regular disinfection of all baggage trolleys and tubs. HIA’s retail and food and beverage outlets encourage contactless and cashless transactions through cards and are considering introducing online or in-app purchases in the future.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar