aena spanish airports 5-star covid-19 rating

Aena has six Spanish airports certified with the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Safety Rating


by Skytrax: London, UK

Spanish airport operator Aena, has today been Certified with the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating for six of its major airports in Spain. This Safety Accreditation is regarded as a global benchmark for defining safe travel assurance for customers.

This 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating has been awarded to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, Palma de Mallorca Airport, Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport and Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de la Laguna Airport, following a detailed Audit evaluation of COVID-19 Safety standards conducted by Skytrax in June 2021.

This Safety Accreditation is regarded as a global benchmark for defining safe travel assurance for customers, and a top recognition of the effectiveness of the hygiene and safety measures introduced by Aena at each airport to protect their customers and staff against the spread of coronavirus.

The audit assesses 175 different safety protocols introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce risk and enhance customer and staff wellbeing. The inspections examine the implementation of health, hygiene, and safety measures in accordance with the recommendations of the ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Aviation Health Safety Protocol, in addition to requirements from the Spanish national government, and other regional authorities.

Aena has introduced an excellent standard of COVID-19 signage and guidance, and the COVID-19 brand used across the Aena network creates a substantial degree of bonding and recognition towards the advice being provided to customers.
Aena has leveraged its position as a major airport operator by encouraging local innovation of COVID-19 information systems and has quickly developed Best Practice concepts which have been rolled out across the airport group. Internal information sharing and site examinations are further policies that have been pursued to refine and evolve the safety measures.

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “We are delighted to be announcing the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating for all six of these major Spanish airports. It is a testament to the hard work and ongoing efforts from the management and staff at each of these airports, and is also achieved through the consistency and quality of COVID-19 Safety branding that Aena has managed to implement at every airport in a consistent manner. This past year has been extremely challenging for airports worldwide, and it is encouraging to see the rapidly increasing passenger numbers travelling to Spain through these airports we have evaluated. Providing the safest possible travel environment for customers is critical to restoring travel confidence, and we congratulate Aena for achieving such consistent safety standards across their airports.”

All of these Aena airports operate a robust procedure of terminal entrance checks to ensure that bona fide passengers only are permitted access, and this ensures that capacity and distancing requirements can be more effectively enforced.

Each airport has a team of COVID-19 Protection marshals that manage passenger movement, remind customers of distancing and mask requirements, and help travellers with the new procedures required for flying during the pandemic. The service targets congestion areas in the airport such as check-in and boarding, and also controls the passenger flow at security and immigration.

All Spanish airports are required to implement checks under the Spain Travel Health regulations and the audit found rigorous and efficient procedures in place at each airport for processing customers. The system requires a series of documentation checks and health screening, and these measures are being provided as efficiently and safely as possible. The infrastructure has been designed and implemented around a range of scenarios for low and high passenger volumes to ensure there is adequate capacity in the system to main social distancing and safe movement for customers.

Some of these airports have introduced pre-travel testing services, and the clinics provide a range of COVID-19 tests to suit the broad range of international requirements. Whilst these testing facilities are operated by a third-party, the benchmark pricing and processing times for results are meeting a competitive standard.

Hundreds of sanitisers have been provided across the airports for passenger and staff, and hand sanitisers are available from kerbside to boarding gate across many high contact and frequently touched surfaces. The appearance and branding of sanitisers is excellent, with the distinctive Aena COVID-19 design ensuring that the units have a good standard of visibility for customers.

Each airport is investing in low-contact technologies which includes contactless taps, soap dispenses, hand dryers, and toilet flushers in washrooms, and these systems are gradually being introduced during 2021. In conjunction with this, is the adaptation of UV sanitisation systems for escalators, moving walkways, and security tray disinfection. Importantly, where an airport does not yet have these automated cleaning methods, staff apply manual disinfection to high contact surfaces such as security trays.

A significant measure at all Aena airports is operational improvement to air-conditioning and air-flow systems which have been adapted to provide terminals with more fresh air from outside, and extra sanitisation of the ventilation filters to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other airborne particles.


The largest Spanish airport located in the capital city of Madrid that served over 612 million passengers in 2019, Aena currently is operating Terminal 4, T4S and Terminal 1, with Terminal 2 slated for re-opening in July 2021 as customer numbers increase.

The standards of COVID-19 safety are meeting the highest level at Madrid-Barajas Airport, and this is supported with the fabulous COVID-19 branding that Aena introduced at this airport, and in Terminal 4 this is at Best Practice through the usage of digital signage options.

A large team of COVID-19 Protection marshals are present and visible across all terminal areas, to manage and maintain safety protocols and to control social distancing, and this is a major contributory factor to the airport achieving the highest COVID-19 Safety Rating.

Following the audit, Aena are installing many more hand sanitisers across the terminals, and have introduced improvements to selected cleaning processes to ensure the highest and most consistent standards are provided to customers.


Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, which in normal times is Spain’s second busiest airport, has recently recommissioned Terminal 2 for low-cost carriers to ensure that social distancing can be adequately maintained at all key movement points.

Barcelona Airport has made significant efforts to ensure that queue structures at check-in, security, and immigration are set up to facilitate distancing and easy movement, and customers are reminded of the importance of leaving enough space through thousands of floor decals and barrier signs.

In the coming weeks, distancing measures for terminal seating will be reinforced with new branding, and additional sanitisers will be added to the check-in area and boarding gates.

As customer numbers continue to grow, more commercial choices will become available to travellers, and the airport is working with the operators to ensure that appropriate risk-reduction strategies are in place at all outlets.


Palma de Mallorca Airport was the third busiest airport in Spain for 2019, and it has in recent weeks seen a large increase of inbound tourists and continues to work hard to deliver the safe movement and processing systems required to move customers efficiently through check-in security, arrival and baggage reclaim.

The airport has successfully implemented the necessary capacity for administering health checks for a large number of arriving customers, and this includes separate testing areas for those passengers that require secondary screening. There are daily stakeholder meetings with airlines, handling agents and tour operators to ensure that terminal operations are optimised for managing passengers efficiently and safely.

The terminal infrastructure is designed to handle large numbers of customers, and the airport management has enhanced this with additional one-way systems to prevent contraflows. Seating capacities remain adequate for the current passenger volumes, and there are appropriate distancing measures in all check-in, arrival, and departure gate levels.

As part of a broader change to infrastructure, the airport is introducing new, larger sanitisers in high movement areas, as well as increasing PPE disposal units at appropriate points in the terminal.


Malaga – Costa del Sol Airport handled nearly 20 million passengers in 2019, and with the uplift in the summer 2021 tourist season, the airport is becoming busier every week.

The airport provides an extensive range of COVID-19 safety protocols and measures to protect customers and staff, and to meet the 5-Star COVID-19 Safety Rating further improvements in hand sanitisers, COVID-19 branding and signage are being installed in July 2021.

There is a generally good level of distancing measures across check-in, arrivals, and departure gate levels, and the Audit ATP testing for high contact surface provided a good standard of cleanliness being provided to customers.

Terminal access is well controlled, and this does contribute to preventing unnecessary crowding in both departure and arrival areas of the airport.


The fifth largest Spanish airport in 2019 handling over 15 million passengers, the primary market here at Alicante is for tourists.

Opened just 10 years ago, the airport has introduced a detailed programme of COVID-19 safety measures, and the audit found these to be very well applied across all customer-facing areas. The quantity, placement and branding of hand sanitisers is excellent, and this is supported by the extensive use of the Aena branded COVID-19 guidance and customer information.

Seat and social distancing measures are at a very high standard, the COVID-19 Protection marshals are very present and active around the terminal, and overall the airport was noted to be conforming well to the 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Rating levels.


Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de la Laguna Airport operates mainly inter-island and domestic flights to the Spanish mainland, and as such has seen the most robust recovery in passenger numbers since the pandemic began. Customer volumes sit between 70 and 80% of pre-COVID levels, and as such the risk reduction measures in place at the terminal are a fair reflection of the strategy needed whilst COVID restrictions remain in place.

Passenger movement systems through arrivals to transportation have been diverted to ensure that adequate distancing can be afforded to customers on the main arrival and check-in level. Similarly, the airport is making good use of airside arrivals space to apply the necessary health checks required by the island authorities.

There are extensive distancing measures for check-in and security queues, and the airport management has reduced and rearranged seats in all areas to create the necessary space for passengers. As customer numbers continue to grow, the distancing measures will be adapted to ensure there are adequate seats available, whilst maintaining appropriate separation.

The airport now has all commercial outlets back into operation, which creates additional space for passengers, and all outlets have robust protocols to safely serve customers and deliver appropriate hygiene systems for seating areas.


A 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating recognises very high standards of airport cleanliness and maintenance procedures. Airports achieving 5-Star deliver many Best Practice systems of cleanliness and hygiene monitoring, and most importantly, these protocols are adhered to consistently. In addition to excellent visual cleanliness and terminal presentation standards, 5-Star COVID-19 Airports may use new techniques for UV sanitisation and mass disinfectant treatments which are scientifically evaluated.

The COVID-19 Safety Rating evaluates airport facilities and service to determine how effectively and consistently COVID-19 procedures are being provided, and assessment areas include terminal cleanliness, cleaning and disinfection procedures, standard and usage conformity of staff personal protective equipment, branding, standard and application of social distancing signage, floor markers and seat distancing, hand sanitiser facilities, airport PA guidance, organisation and control of passenger flows around the airport, security screening hygiene systems, general passenger facilities (e.g. baggage trolleys) and control of social distancing and face mask usage.

COVID-19 Airport Safety Ratings place high importance on the implementation of face mask regulations and monitoring of social distance adherence amongst staff and customers and how airports apply these measures. Airport cleaning efficiency includes evaluating cleaning systems and equipment, cleaning staff numbers, and if sanitisation is regularly validated using ATP testing.

5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating recognises very high standards of airport cleanliness and maintenance procedures. Airports achieving 5-Star deliver many Best Practice systems of cleanliness and hygiene monitoring, and most importantly, these protocols are adhered to consistently. In addition to excellent visual cleanliness and terminal presentation standards, 5-Star COVID-19 Airports may use new techniques for UV sanitisation and mass disinfectant treatments which are scientifically evaluated.


Aena is the world’s number one airport operator in terms of passenger traffic. Over 275 million passengers passed through Spanish airports in 2019. The company manages 46 airports and 2 heliports in Spain and has direct and indirect shares in another 23 airports: one in Europe (London Luton airport, of which it owns 51% of the share capital) and 22 in the Americas (6 in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, 2 in Colombia and 2 in Jamaica).

In March 2019, Aena International acquired 100% of six airports in the north east of Brazil (Aeroporto de Juazeiro do Norte-Orlando Bezerra de Menezes, Aeroporto Internacional Recife/Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre, Aeroporto de Joao Pessoa-Presidente Castro Pinto, Aeroporto de Campina Grande-Presidente Joao Suassuna, Aeroporto de Aracaju-Santa Maria, Aeroporto de Maceió-Zumbi dos Palmares).

Skytrax is the International air transport rating organisation established in 1989 and based in London, United Kingdom. In 2020, Skytrax launched the COVID-19 Safety Ratings covering airports across the world, providing independent, expert evaluation and certification of airport COVID-19 hygiene and safety measures. The Skytrax COVID-19 Safety Accreditation is regarded as a global benchmark for defining safe travel assurance for customers.

» COVID-19 Airport Safety Accreditations

By Skytrax

Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989, and is based in London, UK. The World Airline and Airport Star Rating programme classifies airlines and airports by the quality of product and staff service standards.

Sign up for updates with the Skytrax Newsletter