COVID-Safe Australian First Means Perth Airport Is “Ready to Go”
Perth Airport’s efforts to keep WA’s crucial FIFO workforce flying during a global pandemic have seen it become the first Australian airport to be receive a new global COVID-safe airport rating.
The new “Airport Health Accreditation” rating is a global scheme launched by the Airport Council International to ensure COVID-safe practices are robust and consistent around the world. The accreditation process examines a wide range of airport practices covering critical areas such as cleaning and disinfection, passenger flows, security screening, physical distancing and emergency processes.
Perth Airport is one of only a handful of airports around the world to have secured accreditation.
“We congratulate Perth Airport for becoming the first airport in Australia to obtain the Airport Health Accreditation. Right now, it’s of paramount importance that we reassure both the travelling public and the authorities that airports are prioritising health and safety and providing safe and hygienic facilities according to ICAO and industry standards. The health accreditation fully supports that effort.”
Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown said the recognition would give governments, airlines and passengers greater confidence that air travel will be COVID-safe.
“This rating means that Perth Airport is prepared and ready to go as soon as travel restrictions are eased or lifted. It means that the processes and measures we have put in place with the help of health officials, the mining sector and our airline partners are world class.
“Following the COVID-19 outbreak, it was critical that Perth Airport remained operational 24/7 to service the FIFO flights that drive our resources sector, along with freight services and repatriation flights. It was a steep and fast learning curve but the measures we implemented have helped the resources sector remain COVID free.
“We have had more than 1.5 million intrastate passengers since March and the overwhelming majority of these would have been FIFO workers. We’ve been able to help keep them safe and the community can have the same confidence that we are ready and prepared to keep them safe too once normal travel resumes, and we’ll keep building that confidence by working closely with State and Federal health officials to make sure we’re keeping pace with best practice in this area.”
Perth Airport Chief Operating Officer Scott Woodward said the accreditation had involved a detailed assessment of all aspects of the airport’s terminals and operations.
“We’ve had to reimagine every step of the passenger journey through our terminal and understand the risk to both them and to people who work in our terminals. We’ve then worked to eliminate or minimise that risk.
“Cleaning and disinfection are most probably the most visible of these measures but we’ve also done things like reassess and adjust our airconditioning systems to increase the amount of fresh air in our terminals. We’ve also paced a strong focus on training our team and ensuring we are ready to respond quickly and safely to any emergency.
“We’ve appreciated the strong support and guidance from both State and Federal health officials and we’ll keep working with them to ensure we maintain our readiness at world class levels. Many of the measures put in place by the State and Federal governments in relation to handling arriving passengers have helped us secure this accreditation.”
Chief Commercial Officer Kate Holsgrove said there would be an increasing focus on a touch-free airport experience.
“We’ve increased public messaging about social distancing and other hygiene measures and introduced touch-free hand sanitisers in our terminals. The future will be all about reducing the number of human touchpoints for passengers. We’ve already achieved that with our long term parking bookings and we are investing in new self service check-ins for international flights which will have biometric capabilities.
“We also continue to work closely with our partners including airlines, retailers, and food and beverage outlets and car rental operators to help ensure their workers and customers are COVID-safe.”
The Airport Council International (ACI) is a global body based in Canada representing around 2,000 airports operating in 176 countries. The ACI represents these airports to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), where international standards for air transport are debated and developed.
As part of the “Airport Health Accreditation” process, all passenger areas and processes have been considered and assessed by ACI, including terminal access, check-in areas, security screening, boarding gates, lounges, retail, food and beverages, gate equipment such as boarding bridges, escalators and elevators, border control areas and facilities, baggage claim area and arrivals exit.
This article was originally published by Perth Airport.
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