Qatar Airways receives the 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating
By Peter Miller, Skytrax – London, UK
Qatar Airways is the world’s first long haul airline to be Certified with the 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating. The Covid Airline Safety Rating by Skytrax is the world’s first and only assessment and certification of airline health and safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic that is based on professional and scientific investigation of the actual standards being provided at the airport and onboard flights.
The COVID-19 Safety audit was conducted in December 2020, evaluating a mixture of long haul and regional flights, in addition to safety standards at the home base airport of Hamad International Airport in Doha. The COVID-19 analysis incorporates relevant areas from the IATA Health Safety Standards Checklist, ICAO CART Take-off guidance and WHO recommendations.
Mr Akbar Al Baker, the Group CEO of Qatar Airways said: “As an industry leader and the World’s Best Airline, we are delighted that our commitment to providing the most rigorous and comprehensive COVID-19 safety programme in existence within the global aviation community has been recognised with the Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating. This achievement highlights the fastidious measures and procedures Qatar Airways have employed to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our passengers throughout the global pandemic to date, and follows HIA’s recent success as the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. It also provides assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. As Qatar Airways continues to deal with the ongoing impact and challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, we would like to reinforce the message that air travel does not need to be a source of concern to passengers.”
Qatar Airways has been a leading airline during COVID-19 and adopted a broad and robust range of safety and hygiene measures to accommodate customers. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar Airways profile and reputation for reliability has developed substantially, and they did not reduce the number of flights as aggressively as other airlines in the region.
There has been a comprehensive roll out of hand hygiene facilities at high contact points in Hamad International Airport, and the airline has recently increased the number and prominence of sanitisers across the network, ensuring complete consistency for passengers. Guests will also notice enhanced information signage on the airline’s safety policies and social distancing, and frequent reinforcement of the necessary behaviour for boarding processes.
Qatar Airways customers also receive complimentary face visors during boarding to wear during the flight, and once onboard there are hygiene kits containing replacement face masks and hand sanitiser.
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “We congratulate Qatar Airways on being awarded with the highest 5-Star COVID-19 Safety Rating and being the world’s first long-haul airline to be certified at this level. Qatar Airways kept flying throughout COVID-19, taking over 3.1 million people home since the start of the pandemic, and it is this experience that enables them to deliver an excellent standard of health and hygiene safety measures to keep customers and staff safe. The COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating is the world’s only assessment and certification of airline health and safety measures during Covid that is based on professional and scientific investigation of the actual standards being provided by airlines. This is important to highlight, because there are some self-certifications that simply ask airlines to complete an online box-ticking exercise to state what their Covid measures are (or should be), and we do not believe such a process can deliver accurate or objective results.”
While cabin service has been adapted for COVID-19 safe delivery, Qatar Airways has maintained a full-service product on all flights, and the consistency of standards is importantly upholding the airline’s long-held 5-Star Airline reputation.
Onboard flights, Qatar Airways maintains excellent cleanliness standards which delivered a high pass rate across ATP tests. Aircraft are subject to thorough pre-flight cleaning in Doha and at other network airports, and there is excellent consistency between Business and Economy Class cabins. For Business Class guests, the airline is making use of the Qsuite on all long-haul flights which provides excellent social distancing potential.
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge at Hamad International Airport gains 5-Star COVID-19 rating
Qatar Airways has undertaken several important product and service changes in the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge in Doha. In addition to the sanitisers and hygiene information, a la carte dining has been reintroduced in the main restaurant area. While the buffet remains available, the choices are prepared by staff and delivered to the table to reduce customer contact. The space and capacity of the lounge area means that social distancing is well enforced, and enhanced cleaning delivered a high level pass rate for ATP testing.
The global reach of Qatar Airways network means that the airline’s customers have been subject to varying restrictions for COVID-19 safe behaviour, and this can result in quite mixed levels of understanding for the use of face masks and social distancing, and in the face of such challenges, Qatar Airways crew handle these situations to a good and consistent standard.
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.