Air Astana is accredited with 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating
by Skytrax: London, UK
Kazakhstan national carrier Air Astana has been certified with the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, and becomes the tenth global airline to achieve this recognition.
The Skytrax COVID-19 Airline Safety Accreditation is regarded as a global benchmark for evaluating COVID-19 safe travel.
The COVID-19 Safety Audit was conducted by Skytrax during May and June 2021 and assessed all relevant health and hygiene measures introduced by Air Astana in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The audit evaluates frontline facilities and service systems to determine if the procedures are effective and consistent and this was carried out for the airline’s homebase in Nur-Sultan, and secondary hub in Almaty.
The evaluation encompasses all airport and onboard cleanliness actions, cleaning and disinfection procedures, standard and usage conformity of staff PPE, COVID-19 signage and information, the application of social distancing, hand sanitiser facilities, PA guidance, organisation and control of passenger flows, monitoring face mask usage and adapted service systems in the airport and onboard flights.
“Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Astana has taken every possible step to protect the health and well-being of its passengers,“ said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana. “I’m naturally delighted that our dedication to performing these critical protective procedures at the highest level has resulted in today’s certification from Skytrax, which I’m sure will give extra confidence to the travelling public in Kazakhstan.”
Air Astana restarted domestic flights in May 2020 and has built up considerable experience in delivering COVID-19 safe travel measures for its customers over the last 14-months. While the network still largely comprises of domestic flights, the airline has reacted efficiently to the opening up of international markets and has introduced all necessary protocols to provide passengers with reassurance.
Travellers will notice a broad range of COVID-19 guidance at key touchpoints in the airport including face mask reminders, exhaustive distancing measures, and service adaptations to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus.
Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax said: “Air Astana has applied a very methodical approach to all aspects of COVID-19 risk reduction. A large factor of success for the airline is the consistency which the measures have been implemented, and this not only looks at the safe and efficient management of passengers in Nur-Sultan, but also in the standard of measures introduced across its domestic network. Similarly, we have been delighted to observe the increased hygiene actions for onboard cleaning procedures, as well as the adaptations made to frontline service delivery – which should be a great reassurance to passengers.”
Beyond the check-in counters, Air Astana has made many changes to the lounge service protocols for premium customers – including disposable menus and ordering for dining, table service for F&B, and electronic reading materials. Importantly, this is being further validated by more intensive cleaning procedures – which means that many frequently touched surfaces such as seats and tables are being sanitised after each customer.
Air Astana has introduced hand hygiene units at all high contact areas, in addition to PPE disposal at logical points in the lounge and arrival areas.
Physical distancing is robustly enforced at the boarding gate, and the airline has cooperated with the airport operators at each hub to ensure that appropriate safe movement systems are in place for arrivals and baggage reclaim.
The onboard experience retains an appropriate full-service product, and reduced contact practices are used for the service of meals and amenities. Aside from good consistent use of staff PPE, passengers also receive hygiene products such sanitiser wipes, hand gel and spare facemasks.
Aside from the deep-cleaning of aircraft that takes place between flights, onboard cabin cleanliness measures have been increased for high contact points in the lavatories and galley areas.
ABOUT AIR ASTANA
Air Astana was incorporated in late 2001 and its maiden flight was on 15 May 2002. Today Air Astana operates a fleet of 34 western aircraft and operates over 60 domestic and international routes. Its passengers are served by more than 5,000 highly qualified staff, the majority of whom are from Kazakhstan, supplemented by experienced foreign personnel. In May 2019, Air Astana successfully launched FlyArystan, the region’s first truly low-cost carrier.
The 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating confirms excellent airport processing standards that considers all practical elements of contactless technology, customer handling, and social distancing protocols for check-in, boarding, and arrival. Airline lounges in Nur-Sultan meet a high standard of cleanliness procedures and consistency, with good measures in place that facilitate social distancing, and safe delivery systems for food and beverages. Onboard cleanliness and cabin presentation is at an excellent quality level and may use new techniques for UV sanitisation, and mass disinfectant treatments. The onboard service systems for catering are adapted for COVID-19 times, with reduced contact delivery and enhanced food safety measures for meal presentation.
Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989 and is based in London, United Kingdom. The World Airline Rating programme is a leading international Rating system operating since 1999, which classifies airlines by the quality of product and staff service. In 2020, Skytrax launched the COVID-19 Airline Safety Ratings, providing independent, expert evaluation and certification of airline COVID-19 hygiene and safety measures. This programme is regarded as a global benchmark for Certifying COVID-19 safe travel standards.