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Hamad becomes first Middle Eastern airport to achieve 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating

Posted: 2 December 2020 | | No comments yet

Following a three-day audit, Skytrax awarded Hamad International Airport with the highest airport COVID-19 safety rating.

Hamad becomes first Middle Eastern airport to achieve 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating

Credit: Hamad International Airport

Hamad International Airport (DOH) 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 audit was conducted over three days in October 2020 and is based on a combination of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests, with the consistency of standards being 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 Hamad Airport’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.

Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, said: “We are proud that our COVID-19 policies and protocols are recognised 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 DOH’s self-assessment and served as a quality benchmark to keep up with passenger expectations and operational excellence. DOH prides itself on its status as a five-star airport for the fourth consecutive year, and a five-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 personally.

Edward Plaisted from 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 prioritises passenger convenience and safety, the airport recently installed 15 PPE vending machines across its terminal to ensure that passengers can easily access various disposable and washable PPE equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitisers and face shield products. Physical distancing floor stickers are installed in front of every PPE vending machine to safeguard passengers safety.

Hamad Airport 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, the airport 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 Hamad Airport’s hygiene standards by limiting human contact at security checkpoints, making the process safer and faster for both staff and passengers.

DOH 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.

Hamad Airport 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 sanitised 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. Hamad Airport’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.