The Boeing 787 dreamliner, the latest edition for Kenya Airways, parked at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi, Kenya

As the worldwide lockdown slowly lifts, airports will need to prepare themselves for a return to operations. However, it won’t be business as usual, and airports will need to reevaluate what is needed for operations in this post-COVID-19 world. 

One of the most prominent parallels of airports returning to business, is how airports came back online following the devastating September 9/11 attacks. Airports across the globe instituted new security checkpoints and protocols, to ensure that this tragedy couldn’t be repeated. 

Airports will need to re-evaluate their biosecurity measures, and implement a variety of precautionary measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. Proper implementation of these measures, will also help to increase passenger confidence. 

What steps does an airport need to take?

Airports should consider investing in technology, infrastructure, and essential medical supplies as preventative measures. These measures could include:

  • Temperature checks at immigration for any arriving passengers, and temperature checks at airport entryways. 
  • A good supply of PPE (personal protection equipment) materials for staff and ground crew. 
  • Sanitizer stations for crew and passengers to clean hands. All passengers entering the airport should be required to sanitize their hands. 
  • Education for ground crew and staff on how to prevent pathogens, and how to detect the symptoms of a Covid-19 infected person. 
  • Social distancing within terminals and during boarding.

“Today, the resumption of activities are on the horizon, [airports and airlines] must quickly purchase biosecurity protection against the spread of Covid19 to ensure the health safety of passengers, crews, and ground staff.” – Eways Aviation Strategic Director Alain Tchale.

How are some airports implementing these ideas?

Some airports have already come back online, and have rolled out several new technologies to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Qatar’s Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has opted to use the latest PPE technology: key personnel are equipped with full face-covering helmets that have built-in infrared scanners. This allows staff to check passenger temperatures while still maintaining social distance. In addition, the airport has also deployed autonomous cleaning robots that use UV light to disinfect highly trafficked areas of the terminals every fifteen minutes. This same UV light is also utilised in special tunnels that disinfect any incoming or outgoing baggage.

Robot Covid

A cleaning robot at Qatar’s Doha airport on patrol.

Although Qatar’s technological measures may seem the way forward for airports, more low-tech solutions are being deployed in other locations. In Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport has become ground zero for the fight against the virus in Africa. Airport staff have therefore taken the necessary steps to maintain critical operations, facilitating the transport of medical teams and supplies, across the continent.

Working with Ethiopian Airlines, the airport has implemented a biosecurity security system for staff that includes the use of gloves, masks, and disinfectants to keep facilities sanitized. In addition to this, staff have been educated regarding social distancing, handwashing and proper hygiene (surprisingly one of the most effective steps in combating the virus).

So far, we have used more than half a million each (gloves and masks) and we have more than 300,000 each in our stock so that there is no shortage,” a spokesperson for Ethiopian Airlines confirmed.

How can Eways Aviation help?

Eways Aviation is ready to help airports reopen by supplying medical materials (such as masks, gloves, and temperature scanners) exclusively for airports and airlines. Airports won’t compete with governments, businesses, or hospitals for these essential materials, and can be confident that they are being supplied with the highest medical grade equipment possible. 

Eways Aviation has an exemplary delivery track record. With its existing worldwide supply chain and established PPE supplies network, Eways Aviation is able to quickly deliver these essential products to airports – no matter how remote or how inaccessible their location is. 

For a full list of our special ‘Airport Operation’  covid19 products, please click here.