Qatar Airways introduces additional onboard safety measures
Qatar Airways has shown itself to be a leader during this time of crisis, repatriating over a million people through a mix of scheduled and charter services plus extra sectors.
The airline, named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, already implemented the highest standards of health and safety. with regular disinfection using cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Qatar Airways’ aircraft already featured the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection.
Additionally, the airline’s onboard linen and blankets had already been washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, the headsets are removed of ear foams and rigorously sanitized after each flight.
Meal service utensils and cutlery are washed with detergents and rinsed with demineralized fresh water at temperatures that kill pathogenic bacteria.
Qatar Airways’ home airport, Hamad International Airport, has invested in deploying disinfectant robots, fully autonomous mobile emitting concentrated UV-C light known to be effective in eliminating majority of infectious microorganisms.
PPE and masks
The airline is introducing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits for cabin crew while onboard. Cabin crew have already been wearing PPE during flights for a number of weeks, including gloves and face masks. Cabin crew will wear the PPE suit over their uniforms, in addition to safety goggles, gloves and a mask.As of Monday, May 25, passengers will be required to wear face coverings inflight. The airline recommends people bring their own for fit and comfort purposes.
Service is being modified to reduce interactions between the passengers and the crew inflight. Additionally, large bottles of hand sanitizer will be placed in the galleys and made available for both cabin crew and passengers. All social areas onboard the aircraft have also been closed to observe social distancing measures.
Other additional health and safety measures being implemented include: Business Class meals will be served on a tray instead of a table set up; a cutlery wrap will be offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service. In Economy Class, all meals and cutlery are served sealed as usual.
Passengers flying Business Class can use sliding privacy partitions and fully closing doors creating a private area. Business Class passengers can also use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator to limit interactions with crew.
Cabin crew have received training on how to minimise their chances of contracting or spreading the infection. They will be thermally screened before the departure of flights and after arrival, and are quarantined and tested if any colleagues or passengers on a flight show symptoms of infection or test positive for the virus.
Revised crew guidelines
The airline has revised its distribution of cabin crew on flights, sending two separate groups on short-haul and medium-haul flights – the first to manage the outbound trip, the second to manage the inbound trip. Crew members who have to stay overnight in a foreign city for long-haul flights can travel in Qatar Airways-approved transport only, and must remain in their rooms, limiting human interaction.
Whenever possible, Qatar Airways will implement social distancing, ensuring passengers are allocated seats far apart from each other. The airline is also encouraging passengers to follow hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as regular hand washing and refraining from touching the face.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “At Qatar Airways, we have introduced these additional safety measures onboard our flights to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of our passengers and cabin crew, and to limit the spread of coronavirus. As an airline, we maintain the highest possible hygiene standards to ensure that we can fly people home safely during this time and provide even greater reassurance that safety is our number one priority.
“Seeing as we are still flying the world’s largest international network by operating flights to more than 30 destinations around the world, and aiming to grow our network again in the coming months, these onboard safety measures will assist us in achieving our goals.”