Qatar Airways has increased its health and safety measures onboard by introducing new personal protective equipment (PPE) for customers and cabin crew. The airline’s additional robust measures include offering face shields and protective kits to all passengers, in addition to a new protective gown for cabin crew.
The disposable face shield will be available in two standard sizes – one for adults and the other for children. The children’s face shields feature the airline’s Oryx Kids Club mascots as part of their design. Passengers travelling from Hamad International Airport (HIA) will receive their face shields at the check-in counters, whereas at other destinations, the face shields will be distributed at the boarding gates.
Onboard, all Qatar Airways passengers will be provided with a complimentary protective kit. Inside a ziplock pouch they will find a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel. Business Class customers will also be offered an additional 75ml sanitiser gel tube.
Qatar Airways has also introduced new disposable protective gowns for cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask. The new branded gowns are personalised with Qatar Airways’ logo imprinted on the top left corner.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the safety of our passengers has been our highest priority. By introducing these additional onboard safety and hygiene measures, our customers can rely on us and our unparalleled expertise to fly them safely to their destination. As the largest international airline flying consistently throughout the pandemic, we have become one of the most experienced in safety and hygiene. We will continue to lead the industry in terms of the services offered to our passengers, so that they can travel with confidence.”
To ensure the highest levels of hygiene onboard, Economy Class passengers are required to wear their face shield visor in addition to their face mask or covering throughout the flight, except when they are served their meals or drinks. Business Class customers are asked to wear their face shield and mask onboard at their own discretion, as they enjoy more space and privacy. In addition, for aircraft equipped with Qsuite, Qatar Airways’ award-winning business seat, Business Class customers are offered even greater privacy with sliding partitions and fully closing doors, and an option to display a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator if they wish to limit their interactions with cabin crew.
Parents flying with children should advise them to keep wearing their PPE throughout the journey, although children under two years of age are not advised to wear face shields and face masks or coverings . During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear their face mask or covering as well as the face shield.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the airline has also applied other additional health and safety measures onboard its flights. Business Class meals are served covered on a tray instead of a table set up, and a cutlery wrap is offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service, in an effort to minimise contact between crew and passengers. Qatar Airways has also introduced single-use menu cards and sealed refreshing wipes. Economy Class meals and cutlery are served sealed as usual, and menu cards have been temporarily discontinued. All social areas onboard the aircraft have been closed adhering to the social distancing measures.
Qatar Airways’ aircraft are regularly disinfected using cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Its aircraft feature 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.
All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are rigorously sanitised after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.
Cabin crew have received training on how to minimise their chances of contracting or spreading the infection, are thermally screened before the departure of flights and after their arrival, and are quarantined and tested if any colleagues or passengers on a flight shows any symptoms of infection or test positive for the virus.
In addition, HIA has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. All passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and every boarding gate and bus gate counter is cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points.
Since mid-February, Qatar Airways has helped reunite almost two million passengers with their loved ones, operating a mix of scheduled and charter services plus extra sectors. Globally, Qatar Airways relaunched 11 destinations on 1 July. This marks the largest number of route resumptions in a single day since Qatar Airways started to rebuild its network in what the airline has dubbed ‘Takeoff Wednesday’. By mid-July, its network will expand to more than 65 destinations worldwide.
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times. Its home and hub, HIA, was recently ranked ‘Third Best Airport in the World’ by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020.