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Friday, January 28, 2022

HIA first in region to be awarded ‘5-Star COVID-19 airport’ rating


HIA earned a ‘5-Star Airport’ status for the fourth consecutive year and a 5-Star ‘Covid-19 Airport’ by Skytrax.

Hamad International Airport [HIA] was awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety rating by Skytrax, becoming the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to hold such a rating. 

The move comes after the facility implemented exceptional and effective COVID-19 policies to protect passengers from the virus. 

“We are proud that our COVID-19 policies and protocols are recognised by Skytrax and that we are the first in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Rating,” said Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA.

“Since the inauguration of Hamad International Airport in 2014, Skytrax ranking has always played an important role in HIA’s self-assessment and served as a quality benchmark to keep up with passenger expectations and operational excellence.”

Hamad International Airport also has a 5-Star Airport status for the fourth consecutive year, a ranking Al Meer says the facility takes pride in. 

Read also: HIA becomes first global airport verified for COVID-19 safety protocols

The COVID-19 on-site audit was conducted in October and lasted for over 3 days, HIA said in a press release.

The examination was based on “a combination of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests, which measures the contamination of contact surfaces.”

This includes an evaluation of the practicality and usefulness of physical distancing protocols, as well as the quality and availability of hand hygiene facilities across HIA’s terminal. Cleaning and staff personal protective equipment (PPE) were also included.

Skytrax also inspected the implementation of thermal temperature screening procedures, face mask regulations, and the overall cleanliness and hygiene standards across the airport.

The airport’s exceptional standards and its consistency were crucial in determining the final rating applied.

“Hamad International Airport has achieved great success in delivering COVID-19 protocols that are providing a safe environment for customers and staff. In areas such as hand hygiene and social distancing, Hamad International Airport has good procedures in place,” said Edward Plaisted of Skytrax.

The rating assets over 400 factors in a typical airport travel sequence, analysing COVID-19 hygiene and safety measures. 

“The airport is also meeting high standards of sanitisation across the high-contact points. The consistency of COVID-19 safety procedures and systems is excellent, and this is a critical factor behind being able to certify Hamad International Airport with the 5-star COVID-19 Safety Rating,” Edward said. 

Currently, Hamad International Airport has the capacity to cater for 29 million passengers a year.

The airport has commenced expansion work which will increase its annual handling capacity to over 55 million passengers by 2022, to accommodate for the much anticipated FIFA World Cup.

By 2023, HIA’s annual passenger capacity is expected to reach 65 million passengers.

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