Fiji Airways receives the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating
by Skytrax: London, UK
Fiji Airways has been Certified with the highest level 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, becoming one of just six airlines worldwide to currently achieve this top 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 in March / April 2021, during which time Fiji Airways has been operating repatriation flights to Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Airport standards analysis is based on Nadi International Airport, the home base airport of Fiji Airways. The COVID-19 Safety Rating covers all safety and hygiene protocols introduced by Fiji Airways during COVID-19 to enhance customer and staff safety. This includes all core safety values in the airport, lounge and onboard environments, such as social distancing organisation and control, enhanced cleaning and hygiene materials and systems, adapted food and beverage service, contactless service options at key touchpoints.
Fiji Airways Managing Director & CEO, Mr Andre Viljoen said: “We are beyond ecstatic and honoured to receive the Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, the highest possible rating from the world’s leading, independent aviation ratings and audit organisation. The fact that Fiji Airways is only the sixth airline in the world and the first airline from the region, including Australia and New Zealand, to receive this accolade speaks volumes about our unrelenting commitment to the health and medical safety of our customers and staff. We are proud to set standards in our part of the world for COVID-19 air travel; standards drawn up in partnership with in-house and external medical safety advisors like the Fijian Ministry of Health and other partners.”
Mr. Viljoen added: “Skytrax’s extremely rigorous assessment system independently evaluated over 190 protocols in place for COVID safety, and to score perfectly across these is a remarkable achievement by an airline of our size. It places us in the same category as our oneworld partners Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways, as well as Oman Air, Air Baltic and ANA All Nippon Airways. Credit for this first-ever 5-Star Rating goes to our entire Fiji Airways team who diligently maintain these COVID safety standards and protocols flight after flight. We continuously enhance our Travel Ready programme as the science evolves, so customers can fly assured that we have their safety and wellbeing as our highest priority. We look forward to resuming scheduled commercial flights as soon as border restrictions ease.”
Fiji Airways established its Travel Ready programme in 2020, to safeguard the health, wellbeing and medical safety of customers and staff, and covers more than 1,200 health and safety actions. A part of the programme was the introduction of medically qualified Customer Wellness Champions to look after customers wellbeing onboard.
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “Fiji Airways have developed a very rigorous and comprehensive COVID-19 safety programme branded as Travel Ready, and their attention to detail is a key factor in achieving this highest COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating. Covid safe air travel must ensure there are no weak links in the travel chain, and Fiji Airways have created systems and procedures that are robust at every point of the customer journey, and this is well supplemented with their use of Customer Wellness Champions. Whilst Covid safety is at the forefront of priorities, it is pleasing to see that all aspects of the outstanding Fijian hospitality are very much a part of this.”
Why Fiji Airways is certified with the 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating
⦿ Customers will notice the Travel Ready changes at Nadi Airport kerbside as access to the terminal is strictly for passengers only. Fiji Airways has coordinated with the airport operator to ensure that valid document checks are applied, and hand hygiene facilities are positioned at high contact points.
⦿ All movement areas have been adapted for physical distancing and Fiji Airways has extended its terminal footprint to provide more counters and space for customers. Aside from marker guides and increased for space queuing, self-check-in machines are being operated with distancing systems, and the airline has installed protection screens at front-line service counters. Friendly Travel Ready staff are available to guide guests through the revised procedures as safely and efficiently as possible.
⦿ Fiji Airways has simplified carry-on baggage allowances which has removed the need for weight checks and tagging and aims to limit congestion in the aircraft by ensuring that passengers have a manageable volume of hand luggage.
⦿ The airline’s flagship Premier Lounge facility has undergone a lot of product and service changes. The entry procedure is now conducted contactlessly and there is clear guidance throughout the lounge relating to the new practices including table service for food and drinks, electronic a la carte menus, and downloadable reading materials.
⦿ All food and drink choices are freshly prepared and delivered directly to the customer’s table by waiting staff wearing PPE, and there are separate teams for foodservice and table clearance to reduce the contamination risk.
⦿ Seating has been reorganised to increase distancing, and there are abundant hand sanitisers and PPE disposal points in the main seating areas.
⦿ Cleaning processes have increased intensity and high contact surfaces such as dining tables are disinfected after each customer use. The lounge is fogged at the end of each day with an antimicrobial solution, and ATP testing checks are applied to validate the efficacy of these sanitisation processes.
⦿ The boarding system has been adapted to increase distancing, and passengers are processed in zones from back to front, and Fiji Airways and Nadi Airport have ensured that hand hygiene facilities are available after each contact point.
⦿ Onboard flights, customers are given a Travel Ready hygiene kit containing sanitiser wipes, gloves and spare facemasks, and Fiji Airways have added sanitiser units to galleys and washrooms.
⦿ Meal services have been adapted with COVID-19 safe methods for safe handling and reducing contamination risks, but the product retains a good full-service standard.
⦿ Cabin cleaning systems have been modified to sanitise high-contact areas after each flight, and long-lasting anti-viral disinfectant is applied during deep cleaning when aircraft are back in Nadi. Inflight checks for toilets have been increased, and Fiji Airways also use UV methods of sanitisation.
⦿ The deplaning process is completed in stages to minimise movement and increase distancing amongst guests. Customers returning to Fiji, are assisted throughout the arrival process by Fiji Airways staff and guided to their quarantine transportation which is managed by the Fijian military.
ABOUT FIJI AIRWAYS
Founded in 1951, Fiji Airways Group comprises of Fiji Airways and its subsidiaries: Fiji Link, its domestic and regional carrier, Pacific Call Comm Ltd, and a 38.75% stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, Nadi. From its hub at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways and Fiji Link destinations include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The Fiji Airways Group brings in 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji. Fiji Airways fleet includes A350-900, A330-200s, A330-300, Boeing 737-800s, two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
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 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 the global benchmark for Certifying COVID-19 safe travel standards.