- Aviation rating firm Skytrax is adding a new category to its list, the COVID-19 airport rating.
- Airports are being judged on how they are combating the pandemic within their doors with ratings for social distancing enforcement, temperature checks, and cleanliness of public areas.
- Only four airports in Europe have been rated so far but the program aims to expand into Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America, and South America in the near future.
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Skytrax earlier this year revealed its ranking for the top 100 best airports in the world, a highly competitive list that the firm complies in addition to its airline ratings. But global events have forced a new category for its prestigious ratings, the COVID-19 Airport Rating.
Concerns of contracting the virus while traveling have prompted nearly every airport to implement new safety measures as they begin to welcome back travelers. And with flying schedules slashed in the immediate wake of the pandemic, airports are also fighting to be among the first to receive back their airline partners by ensuring that their airports are safe for passengers.
The global rating endeavor will see Skytrax survey over 100 international airports and issue stars on a scale from zero to five. Categories include social distancing enforcement, temperature checks, and cleanliness of public areas.
European airports are the first to be tested, with Skytrax already issuing ratings for some airports in the UK, Spain, France, and Italy, where the virus hit among the hardest on the continent.
Airports in Asia and the Middle East will begin testing in October while North American and South American airports will be tested from December 2020. African airports will see Skytrax ratings beginning in January 2021, with the firm not listing when Australian and Oceanic airports will be judged.
Here’s which airports are doing the best at combatting the novel coronavirus, so far.
London’s Heathrow Airport – three stars
London’s primary international gateway is among the lowest-rated airports in Skytrax’s current ranking with only three stars. According to the rating firm, “Airports achieving 3-Star have Best Practice systems for cleanliness but do not apply the necessary cleaning and hygiene protocols on a regular or consistent basis.”
On a scale of zero to five stars for each category, Heathrow Airport only earned one five-star rating for requiring visitors to wear face coverings. The next highest rating was two four and a half rating for enhanced terminal airflow and filtering and face mask usage enforced.
The lowest ratings given to the airport were two three-star ratings for personal protective equipment compliance among security screening staff and monitoring capacity in shops and eateries.
Skytrax also rated Heathrow Airport as the 12th best airport in the world during its most recent 2020 ranking.
Málaga–Costa del Sol Airport – three stars
Malaga Airport in southern Spain earned a three-star rating from Skytrax. The only five-star rating the airport received was for requiring that visitors wear face coverings.
The next highest were four four-star ratings for enhanced terminal airflow and filtering, hand sanitizer availability, hand sanitizer prominence and utility, and temperature checks. The firm also noted that the airport has no COVID-19 testing facilities of personal protective equipment vending machines.
The airport falls short, according to Skytrax, in providing COVID-19 informational signage, enforcing terminal access rules, enforcing social distancing, cleaning and monitoring washrooms, and cleaning and monitoring food and beverage areas. Each of those categories earned less than three stars.
Nice Côte d’Azur Airport – three stars
The gateway to the French Riviera and Monaco only achieved three stars from Skytrax in managing the coronavirus pandemic within its doors. Skytrax only issued one five-star rating in its breakdown for the airport requiring face masks to be worn by passengers.
The next highest was a four-star rating for enhanced terminal airflow and filtering, with the firm noting that the airport has no COVID-19 testing facilities or personal protective equipment vending machines. The airport didn’t earn lower than three stars in any category.
Rome-Fiumicino International Airport – five stars
The largest airport in Rome is currently among the best airports in the world for handling the coronavirus pandemic with a five-star award from Skytrax. According to the rating firm, “Airports achieving 5-Star deliver many Best Practice systems of cleanliness and hygiene monitoring, and most importantly, these protocols are adhered to consistently.”
Skytrax gave the airport five stars in the following categories:
- Terminal access rules enforced
- Temperature checks
- Customer face masks required
- Hand sanitizer availability
- Social distancing markings & signage
- Social distancing seat markings
- Enhanced terminal airflow & filtering
- Shop/Food & Beverage capacity monitoring
The only category where Skytrax gave the airport less than four stars was in the COVID-19 testing availability category where the airport received zero stars.