ASIATODAY.ID, DOHA – Qatar Airways reports extremely low numbers of COVID-19 cases on board its aircraft after operating more than 4.6 million passenger flown sectors and over 33 billion revenue passenger kilometres on more than 37,000 COVID-19-free flights across the globe since February 2020.
The success of the airline’s robust COVID-19 monitoring, detection and hygiene programme has resulted in more than 99.988 per cent of passengers travelling COVID-19-free on board, with significantly less than one per cent of passengers confirmed to have tested positive by local authorities following a Qatar Airways flight.
In addition to this, significantly less than one per cent (0.002%) of operating cabin crew have been affected on board to date, with no new cases recorded since the airline introduced its full PPE in-flight uniform in May 2020, as well as the inclusion of passenger face shields on all flights.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “These latest statistics are a clear indication that, with the adoption of the right measures such as meticulous on-board safety, hygiene and social distancing procedures in place at airports, and compliance with the testing and entry requirements of local authorities, air travel does not need to be a source of concern to passengers.
“From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced the most rigorous and stringent virus monitoring, detection and on-board hygiene programme in existence within the global aviation community. As an industry, we want to ensure the recovery of commercial aviation by encouraging passengers to feel confident that they are safe and protected, from departure to arrival, with all airlines.
“Our risk-based approach has seen us adopt a number of additional measures such as the introduction of PCR testing for passengers departing from ‘high risk’ countries, and the use of the most advanced HEPA air filtration systems on board our aircraft, wherever possible. This is in addition to the recent introduction of Honeywell’s Ultraviolet Cabin System, operated by Qatar Aviation Services, as an additional step in the cleaning of our aircraft and yet more evidence of Qatar Airways commitment to enhancing its safety practices. We have also done everything possible to protect our crew and employees from exposure to infection, with specialist onboard infection prevention training and the introduction of full PPE in-flight uniform in May completely eradicating this risk to date.
“As a result of these important measures we are able to report that 99.988 per cent of the more than 4.6 million passenger flown sectors operated have been COVID-19-free on board our aircraft since February 2020. In addition, significantly less than one per cent of Qatar Airways’ more than 37,000 flights have been confirmed to have carried an infected passenger. Given the extremely low numbers of cases travelling on flights and the even lower risk of transmission, with a recent IATA study finding 1 in 27 million travellers had contracted COVID-19 on board a flight, passengers can travel with peace of mind with the knowledge that flying continues to be the safest form of travel.
“Whilst these numbers may be low, we will continue to fastidiously monitor global developments in the fight to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as work closely with local health authorities to support with tracing activities whenever a positive case is confirmed and they have travelled with us within the time range of the incubation period. As an industry, we must remain vigilant and avoid any complacency, but ensure that we have strong safety and security procedures in place to instill confidence in passengers and provide reassurance, whether they are travelling home, visiting friends and family, or taking a leisure trip.”
According to the latest IATA data, Qatar Airways has become the largest international carrier between April to July by fulfilling its mission of taking people home. This enabled the airline to accumulate unmatched experience in carrying passengers safely and reliably and uniquely positioned the airline to effectively rebuild its network. The carrier has stringently implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures on board its aircraft and in Hamad International Airport.
Qatar Airways’ onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business Class passengers on aircraft equipped with Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy this award-winning business seat provides, including sliding privacy partitions and the option to use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London and New York.
Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals.
It is the first entity in the world to achieve independent verification from BSI (British Standards Institution) for its implementation of COVID-19 ICAO Aviation Health Safety Protocols. The verification was conducted following successful audits for Compliance to International Civil Aviation Organization Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce ICAO CART.
This important achievement marks the State of Qatar as the first country in the world to be verified by BSI for its COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol Implementation.
Sparing no effort in safeguarding its passengers, HIA continues to maintain a 1.5m physical distancing across all passenger touchpoints around the airport, through floor markings, signage and distanced seating. All passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes.
All gates and bus gate counters are being cleaned after each flight. HIA’s retail and food and beverage outlets encourage contactless and cashless transactions through cards and are considering introducing online or in-app purchases in the future. The airport also conducts regular disinfection of all baggage trolleys and tubs.
HIA was recently ranked ‘Third Best Airport in the World’, among 550 airports worldwide, by the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row. (AT Network)