COVID-19 Airline Safety Ratings

Evaluating and certifying COVID-19 Airline Safety standards

The process of certifying COVID-19 Airline Safety standards requires detailed investigation and analysis of the effectiveness and consistency of measures put in place by airlines to ensure that their COVID-19 safety and hygiene measures are meeting very high standards, to provide enhanced safety to customers and staff.

Skytrax have been auditing airline standards since 1989, and provide unique, specialist knowledge and experience to conduct the COVID-19 Safe Airlines assessment. With a variety of flights having to be audited for each airline to assess standards, the roll-out of COVID-19 Airline Ratings is being carried out according to travel restrictions and border openings of countries around the world.

» Safe air travel during COVID-19

After seeing spurious ratings of airline COVID-19 standards, based on nothing more than reading an airline’s COVID-19 policies, it was necessary to introduce some reality into providing COVID-19 ratings that are based on the actual airline travel experience and assessment,” said Edward Plaisted of Skytrax. “As with many things in life, there is often a disconnect or gap between theory and practice, and that can only be assessed through direct evaluation. Airlines face the most challenging time in their history, and encouraging customers back onto flights involves not only changes to PCR testing, quarantine and country travel policies, but giving the necessary level of assurance for their COVID-19 measures by way of professional assessment.”

The COVID-19 Airline Safety Ratings evaluate airport and onboard standards, to determine how effectively COVID-19 enhanced systems and procedures are performing.

Airport assessment includes check-in services and facilities, airline lounges, boarding procedures, deplaning procedures, baggage claim, arrival, and transfer options. The airport service elements cover all airline provided options, not areas under direct control of the airport operator. Aside from the cleanliness objective, this evaluates service processes for reducing customer and staff contact wherever practically possible.

Onboard, cabin cleanliness heads up the analysis for all common surface contact areas, customer and staff use of face masks and PPE, and protocols to control this, adapted cabin service procedures including catering, in addition to assessing amenities and cleanliness of essential comfort items.

To evaluate proper execution of cabin cleaning processes, Skytrax use ATP testing for all high contact areas. This signifies clearly if a surface has been adequately cleaned, and highlights where systematic change to either cleaning techniques or frequency is needed to meet the expected standard. Cleaning analysis looks at varying flight types for full evaluation – i.e. the first flight of the day, and flights with short turnarounds. Similarly, this assesses consistency of cleaning and sanitisation standards between the homebase, and network airports.

 

Expert evaluation of the measures airlines are taking to keep staff and customers safe, in the airport and onboard flights to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Whilst every airline is seeking to provide the safest environment to customers and staff, they also want to offer an efficient and enjoyable customer experience.

 


The COVID-19 Airline Ratings are structured to award between 3-Star and the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Rating.

A 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 meet a high standard of cleanliness validated visually and through ATP testing, with good measures in place that facilitate social distancing, and safe delivery systems for food and beverages. Onboard cleanliness and cabin presentation is at a excellent quality level, and may use new techniques for UV sanitisation, and mass disinfectant treatments which are scientifically evaluated. Service systems for catering are adapted for COVID-19 times, with reduced contact delivery and enhanced food safety measures for meal presentation.

A 4-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating recognises good airport processing standards that include some elements of contactless technology, customer handling, and social distancing protocols for check-in, boarding, and arrival. Airline lounges have good cleanliness which is validated visually and through ATP testing, and there are reasonable measures in place that facilitate social distancing, and safe delivery systems for food and beverages. Onboard cleanliness and cabin presentation is at a good quality level which may use techniques for UV sanitisation, and mass disinfectant treatments which are scientifically evaluated. Most service systems for catering are adapted for COVID-19 times, with some reduced contact delivery and enhanced food safety measures for meal presentation.

A 3-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating achieves average airport processing standards that have few elements of contactless technology, customer handling, and social distancing protocols for check-in, boarding, and arrival. Airline lounge cleanliness is inconsistent, validated visually and through ATP testing, and there are limited measures in place that facilitate social distancing, and safe delivery systems for food and beverages. Onboard cleanliness and cabin presentation varies between flights which has been ATP tested. Some service systems for catering are adapted for COVID-19 times, with basic reduced contact delivery and limited or inconsistent enhanced food safety measures for meal presentation.

We do not include social distancing for cabin seating, since very few airlines block middle seats on wide-body aircraft or aisle or window seats on narrower planes, and such a policy is not a sustainable model.

 

The COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating certification is made on completion of Skytrax Audit analysis to airlines that meet the required standard of COVID-19 safety and hygiene measures.

An airline has to earn the trust to travel from today’s customers, and the COVID-19 Airline Safety Ratings provide an insight into how each airline is performing.

 

 


MORE INFORMATION

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