Airports Council International (ACI) World has launched the Airport Health Accreditation program to assist airports by assessing new health measures and procedures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic against global standards.
As airports around the world begin to restart and then prepare to sustain continuing operations they are focused on the health and welfare of travelers, staff, and the public.
The ACI Airport Health Accreditation program provides airports with an assessment of how aligned their health measures are with the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Recommendations along with industry best practices.
The CART guidelines are aligned with the ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol guidelines.
The program enables airports to demonstrate to passengers, staff, regulators, and governments that they are prioritizing health and safety in a measurable, established manner while also validating their own measures and processes.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects have halted the airport industry at global level, airports are vital cogs in the aviation ecosystem, and our Airport Health Accreditation program will help to restore passenger confidence in air travel.” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “As important engines of growth, wealth creation, and employment, the recovery of the airport sector will be a significant driver of the global economic recovery. Key to this recovery will be reassuring the traveling public that airports are prioritizing health and safety and providing safe and hygienic facilities.
“Assessment is aligned with guidelines for health measures established by ICAO, EASA, and ACI to help airports to prioritize and promote a safe and healthy environment for passengers, staff and the public.
“Airports cannot do this in isolation, however, and collaboration, cooperation and consistency across the aviation industry will be the key to rebuilding global air services capacity and keeping passengers safe, healthy, and secure as we do this.
“To assist airports, ACI has developed the Airport Health Accreditation Program to promote best practices and help align efforts across the industry to harmonize measures, processes, and procedures with ICAO, EASA, and ACI’s global guidance.”
Topics covered by the accreditation include cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing (where feasible and practical), staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.
Airports are communities – or mini-cities – so, to address this, all passenger areas and processes are considered including:
- terminal access and check-in area
- security screening
- boarding gates and lounges
- retail, food, and beverage areas
- gate equipment such as boarding bridges
- escalators and elevator
- border control areas and facilities (in collaboration with authorities), and
- baggage claim area and arrivals exit.
The program is voluntary and open to all ACI member airports of all sizes in all regions. Upon submission of the completed questionnaire and all supporting materials, a virtual evaluation is conducted online by ACI to determine that health measures are being applied in alignment with ICAO CART guidelines, as well as EASA, and ACI recovery guidance, including ACI EUROPE’s Guidelines for a Healthy Passenger Experience at Airports.