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Signage at Rome’s airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Tom Pallini)

Rome Fiumicino Airport Awarded 5-Star SkyTrax COVID-19 Airport Rating

The COVID-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc on commercial aviation over the past months has caused the traveling public to modify the parameters used to evaluate the service they receive when they board an aircraft or they transit through an airport. Therefore, SkyTrax Ratings — the World Airline and Airport Star Rating program that has been providing their ratings since 1999 — has launched a new airport ranking aiming to evaluate airport based on its COVID-19 procedures and facilities.

“The COVID-19 Airport Ratings are based on an amalgam of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests, with consistency being a key determinant in the final rating applied,” says the SkyTrax website. “In line with all our rating procedures – explains Edward Plainsted of SkyTrax – we physically visit and inspect airports to determine how effectively their COVID-19 procedures are being provided. To offer a proper level of assurance of health and safety standards to airport customers and staff, we believe this process is essential because we are well aware that the theory and planning behind such issues is often not delivered consistently in the required front-line positions.”

The program is currently in the process of collecting results from visits at European airports and will be subsequently extended to other continents starting from October 2020 with Africa being the last area to be added to the program as of January 2021.

Currently, only four out of 51 European airports have had their evaluation completed. The first part of the program to be started in 2020 will include 111 airports of which nine are in the Middle East, 26 are in Asia, 18 are in North America and seven are in South America.

The only facility to have obtained a five-star rating is Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport in Italy. Airports achieving the highest rating deliver many best practice systems of cleanliness and hygiene monitoring. And most importantly, these protocols are adhered to consistently.

In addition to excellent visual cleanliness and terminal presentation standards, five-star airports provide exceptional disinfection and hygiene measures that deliver a 75% pass rate during scientific validation. The airport obtained full grades for the enforcement of terminal access rules, multiple language signage, hand sanitizer availability, mask-wearing compliance and capacity monitoring on behalf of their food and beverage operators.

On Sept. 1, the airport opened a 7,000-square-foot COVID testing center which is co-managed with the Italian Red Cross, CNN reports.

The only other airports that have already received a rating are London’s Heathrow Airport, Nice Cote d’Azur Airport in France and Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport in Spain, all of which were given a three-star rating.

Vanni Gibertini
Vanni Gibertini
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