Istanbul Airport has become the world’s first airport to be reaccredited through the Airports Council International (ACI) World Airport Health Accreditation programme.
Accreditation is granted for 12 months and Istanbul Airport was the first to be accredited in 2020. The reaccreditation programme opened in June 2021.
The programme is supported by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and has been updated this year. It remains aligned with the latest ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) recommendations and with ACI Europe guidelines for a healthy passenger experience.
In turn, these guidelines are aligned with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency/European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Aviation Health Safety Protocol.
In addition, the programme is aligned with industry best practices including ACI’s own updated Aviation Business Restart and Recovery publication.
CONFIDENCE IN AIR TRAVEL KEY TO RECOVERY
Since launching in July 2020, more than 600 airports have signed up to the health accreditation programme.
In a joint statement, ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira and ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said: “Fostering confidence in air travel will be key to the sustained recovery of the industry. We congratulate the Istanbul Airport team for again demonstrating to passengers that their health and safety is an overriding priority.
“Recovery will be best achieved through a coordinated and globally harmonised approach which is aligned with global standards. Istanbul has set an example for the industry in pursuing this through the Airport Health Accreditation programme. This provides airports with an assessment of their health measures against globally accepted standards.”
Kadri Samsunlu, CEO, İGA said: “For about two years, the whole world has been struggling with a health crisis that has deeply affected humanity. With the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and the beginning of the summer season, we entered a process in which we are approaching the best scenario in terms of aviation.
“As İGA, we have come a long way in terms of health measures by putting extra effort until we saw this optimistic view. Since then, the steps taken in terms of health measures at Istanbul Airport that were later implemented in different industries is the biggest proof of how we excelled at our work.
“This year, we continue our efforts to offer our passengers ‘a safe travel experience’ by keeping hygiene at the highest level. Once again, we have been awarded the Airport Health Accreditation that was given to Istanbul Airport for the first time last year by Airports Council International.
“With this certificate, which we received through rigorous audits, we also ensured the sustainability of our practices in health measures. I would especially like to highlight that we will never compromise on the hygiene standards achieved in Istanbul Airport.”
Speaking exclusively to TRBusiness as part of this publication’s Top 10 Airports report, which will appear in our July/August e-zine Samsunlu said: “As Istanbul Airport, we believe contactless and paperless technologies play vital roles during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These technologies are not only important for complying with health and safety measures during the pandemic, but for sustainability purposes.”
He added: “The further we move into digital age technologies, the more sustainable we become. The Covid-19 pandemic is a catalyst for change. It will foster technologies that enable a seamless airport experience.
“Seamless travel means the absence of disruption and travelling from A to B without any problem. I am deeply convinced that contactless processes and biometric technologies play a central role in making this possible.”
‘HYGIENIC AND SAFE’ SHOPPING ENVIRONMENT
Vital precautions have been taken to comply with criteria determined for certification by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority at Istanbul airport. Samsunlu said: “Necessary measures are taken with our commercial partners to provide a hygienic and safe shopping environment to passengers.
“Social distance stickers, plexiglass protective coatings and hand sanitisers are placed in suitable areas determined within the terminal.
“There are also specific measures for personnel and their working space. In this regard, educational presentations about Covid-19 were prepared and shared with all our employees and third parties/ partners.”
All passenger areas and processes are assessed through the Airport Health Accreditation programme 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 (in collaboration with authorities); baggage claim area and arrivals exit.
Processes assessed include cleaning and disinfection; physical distancing; staff protection; physical layout; passenger communications and passenger facilities.