Qatar Airways has become the world’s first long-haul airline to receive a maximum five-star ‘Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating’ from Skytrax.
The respected UK-based air transport rating agency found the carrier had ‘adopted a broad and robust range of safety and hygiene measures to accommodate customers’ after assessing standards on its flights and at its home base airport, Hamad International Airport in Doha.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh Airport has become the first airport in the UK to be awarded a four-star ‘Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating’. By comparison, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports all have a three-star rating.
Qatar Airways has become the world’s first long-haul airline to receive a maximum five-star ‘Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating’ from respected UK-based air transport rating agency Skytrax
When it came to assessing Qatar Airways, Skytrax found that at Hamad International Airport, ‘there had been a comprehensive rollout of hand hygiene facilities at high contact points’ and that the airline had ‘recently increased the number and prominence of sanitisers across the network, ensuring complete consistency for passengers’.
It added: ‘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.’
In the airline’s Al Mourjan Business Class lounge, Skytrax pointed out that while a buffet remains available, ‘the choices are prepared by staff and delivered to the table to reduce customer contact’.
Skytrax continued: ‘The space and capacity of the lounge area mean that social distancing is well enforced, and enhanced cleaning delivered a high-level pass rate for ATP [surface cleanliness analysis] testing.’
While boarding, Skytrax found that all Qatar Airways customers received complimentary face visors to wear during the flight, and once onboard ‘there are hygiene kits containing replacement face masks and hand sanitiser’.
It said that the airline ‘maintains excellent cleanliness standards which delivered a high pass rate across ATP tests’.
It explained: ‘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 provide excellent social distancing potential.
‘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.’
Skytrax said that Qatar Airways ‘maintains excellent cleanliness standards’ on its aircraft
Edward Plaisted of Skytrax said: ‘We congratulate Qatar Airways on being awarded the highest five-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 3.1million 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.’
Edinburgh Airport, pictured, has become the first airport in the UK to be awarded a four-star ‘Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating’
Mr Akbar Al Baker, the group CEO of Qatar Airways, said: ‘As an industry leader and the World’s Best Airline, as named by Skytrax, 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 five-star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating.
‘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.’
Assessments by Skytrax of Covid-19 safety measures adopted by airlines and in airports around the globe are ongoing.
So far, it has inspected 20 airlines, with Latvian carrier airBaltic also receiving a five-star rating. Those that have gained a four-star rating include British Airways, easyJet, Emirates, Lufthansa, Ryanair, KLM and Air France.
Skytrax has also assessed 44 airports across the globe, with Rome Fiumicino the first to be awarded five stars.
Others to be awarded five stars include Istanbul Airport and Bogota El Dorado Airport in Colombia.