Malta International Airport certified with the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Safety Rating
by Skytrax: London, UK
Malta International Airport has been Certified with the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Safety Rating, by international air transport rating agency Skytrax. This Safety Accreditation is regarded as a global benchmark for defining safe travel assurance for customers.
The 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating is a top recognition of the effectiveness of the hygiene and safety measures introduced by Malta International Airport to protect their customers and staff against the spread of coronavirus.
The COVID-19 audit was conducted in May 2021 evaluating over 175 safety protocols introduced by Malta International Airport in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance customer and staff safety. The audits include assessment of the airport’s implementation of health, hygiene, and safety measures in accordance with the recommendations of the ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Aviation Health Safety Protocol.
“Coming at a time when we are easing into the restart of tourism, this 5-star rating reassures us that we are well positioned to give incoming guests a safe welcome to the Maltese islands. I would like to thank the airport team and all stakeholders for working hand in hand to provide consistently high levels of safety and security along the airport journey, which are doubtlessly more important than ever as we seek to restore consumer confidence in the travel industry. The achievement of this coveted industry rating does not mean that we will be resting on our laurels. As we brace ourselves for busier summer days, we also remain committed to keep evolving the airport experience by taking on board the expert advice provided by Skytrax and focusing on certain areas of operation highlighted in the audit report which may become increasingly more challenging to manage as traffic continues to pick up,” said Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg.
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “Malta Airport conducted a very detailed review of airport processes and COVID-19 risk points for the customer journey through the terminal. The airport staff and management subsequently delivered a range of measures to increase passenger safety and well-being whilst also trying to minimise disruption and ensure that the comfort and enjoyment of the airport is maintained as much as practically possible. The high standards of cleanliness throughout the terminal were particularly noteworthy, and this should be highly reassuring to customers travelling in the coming months.”
COVID-19 standards at Malta International Airport
Malta International Airport responded to the risks of COVID-19 by launching an extensive programme of safety measures which focus principally on the three golden rules of hands, face, and space. Throughout the terminal there are frequent hand hygiene points with a major focus on providing sanitisers at high-contact areas such as check-in, boarding gates, and self-service facilities. In addition, the airport has increased the regularity of sanitisation for baggage trolleys, and trays at security processing are disinfected between each customer use.
Face mask use is strictly enforced in all indoor and outdoor areas, and there are appropriate reminders throughout the terminal. Malta Airport has established a distinctive blue brand for all information relating to COVID-19 measures and it is easy for customers to recognise the requirements of the health authorities. In a further effort to assist passengers, the airport has introduced a dedicated Care Team to advise guests on COVID-19 safety and ensure efficient processing in areas of potential congestion.
For departure and arrival, ground handling buses are restricted to 30 customers per vehicle, and for immigration and health checks, Malta Airport has added two additional handling areas to increase separation between arrival flights.
Social distancing is facilitated throughout the terminal with a range of floor decals, seat markers, and capacity restrictions in shops and restaurants. All commercial partners have adapted their operation for COVID-19 safety.
Terminal cleanliness has been extensively enhanced for the sanitisation of contact points in all public areas, and this is an area where Malta Airport achieved strong results for both visual presentation and low microbial scores for surfaces that were ATP tested. The airport has also enhanced air ventilation and filtration with increased fresh air flow.
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.
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.
ABOUT MALTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Malta International Airport has a 72,000 sq m passenger terminal, with 2 runways. In 2019, over 125 destinations were served by 30 airlines, and over 7 million passengers were handled. Throughout the years, Malta International Airport has been an important contributor to the local economy, with the airport helping in sustaining around 20,000 jobs – representing 7% of all jobs in Malta – in 2019 alone. Being the only air terminal serving the Maltese islands, Malta International Airport aims to serve as a role model and force for change in Malta’s civil aviation industry.
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.