Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume Airport is failing on COVID-19 safety protocols

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Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar has been Certified with the lowest 2-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating for failing to properly apply international COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Skytrax COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating is the world’s only assessment and certification of airport 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. The audit of Abeid Amani Karume International Airport was conducted in January 2021, based on a combination of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and cleanliness checks using ATP tests, with the consistency of standards being a key determinant in the final rating.

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: “We are shocked by the poor health and safety standards at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, which appear to reflect Tanzania’s denial of COVID-19. Just yesterday, new cases of the South African virus variant were confirmed in two travellers flying into Denmark on 19th January from Tanzania (Denmark Statens Serum Institut). Skytrax COVID-19 Safety Audit was carried out 3 days later, which confirmed a complete lack of COVID-19 measures. Our audit teams have conducted COVID-19 audits at airports in many parts of the world during the last 8 months, and this airport is worse than we could have ever imagined for its complete lack of COVID-19 safety protocols. We highlight to any travellers considering to visit Zanzibar that in the current global pandemic this is a potentially dangerous airport to travel through.

January 2021: Queuing to enter Airport with no facemasks and zero social distancing

Tanzania attracted new airlines and travellers in 2020 with its lack of COVID-19 restrictions, with customers from Russia and Ukraine making up one of the biggest increases in passengers. This boost may have been influenced by Tanzania’s President John Magufuli declaring in June 2020 that the country was coronavirus free, although there has been no official data on infection rates since late April 2020.

January 2021: Immigration with no facemasks and zero social distancing

Throughout the airport, there are no information guidelines reflecting COVID-19 safe behaviour such as mask use or hand hygiene reminders. There are a few legacy physical distancing markers, and those in place are faded and damaged, and there is no encouragement for social distancing in the seating areas. The volume of passengers during the audit inspections meant that distancing is impossible.

While customer temperatures are checked on arrival, this represents the only monitoring and consistently applied policy for COVID-19 at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.

The lack of facemask usage is very disappointing in all public areas, and this is not enforced amongst passengers. While many airport staff wear face masks, the level of compliance is much weaker than one observes in other global regions. If you do not have appropriate PPE with you, there is nowhere to buy such items in the terminal.

January 2021: Departures area with no facemasks and zero social distancing

January 2021: A solitary hand sanitiser, but it is filled with liquid soap

While there are a few hand sanitisers in the terminal, the locations, quality, and visibility of the product is so much poorer than we would expect to find in a busy international airport during the pandemic.

January 2021: The lack of surface cleanliness is just one area of very poor cleanliness throughout the airport

The airport terminal cleanliness is unsatisfactory, and maintenance staff are not seen. Aside from the lack of sanitisation facilities, the overall condition of the terminal is very weak.

The COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating includes cleaning and disinfection procedures, social distancing policies and control, face mask usage, sanitiser availability, standard and use of PPE by staff in the airport, and other hygiene applications being used. The audit investigated and evaluated potential safety protocols at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, to determine how effectively COVID-19 procedures are being implemented to protect the well-being of customers and staff.

The 2-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating is the lowest possible classification used and indicates a poor standard of airport cleanliness and/or COVID-19 safety protocols. The 2-Star rating indicates that an airport cleaning and hygiene protocols are not meeting the required minimum standard of COVID-19 safety. 2-Star rated airports might offer fair visual cleanliness and presentation, but the standards of disinfection, hygiene measures and safety protocols are poor.

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By Skytrax

Skytrax are specialist research advisors to the air transport industry. Dedicated to improving the customer experience for airlines and airports across the world. Skytrax delivers expertise and innovative thinking to encourage change.

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