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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Seattle-Tacoma Achieves Global Health Accreditation

The FlyHealthy program at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has achieved Global Health Accreditation under the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program. 

ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation program assists airports by assessing new health measures and procedures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force recommendations. Areas of assessment for accreditation include cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing, staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.

The Airport Health Accreditation program is also consistent with the recommendations and industry priorities put forward by Airport Council International – North America’s Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel in June 2020.  As the report recommends, the restart and recovery of the aviation sector will require a consistent and harmonized approach with clear industry standards and good practices. More airports adopting the Airport Health Accreditation program is a concrete step that airports can take to reaffirm their commitment to health and safety.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, North American airports have taken unprecedented steps to ensure the health and safety of passengers and airport workers,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.  “We are proud to recognize SEA’s Airport Health Accreditation. This important step further demonstrates the airport’s deep commitment to promoting health and safety as air travel begins to recover.”

The FlyHealthy@SEA program launched in April as an overarching response to the pandemic to specifically focus on restoring customer confidence in air travel. It is a layered approach that reflects the complexity in addressing this long-term challenge of providing health and safety assurances to customers, particularly in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The approach incorporates multiple perspectives to ensure a comprehensive response, including health, public policy and advocacy, business partners, traveling public communications, and customer experience and feedback. To date, SEA has initiated dozens of actions such as physical changes, new procedures, and efforts to influence passenger and employee behavior. For example, the airport requires face coverings and physical distancing, boosted cleaning and disinfecting activities, and added more touchless technologies. 

FlyHealthy@SEA leads with five core strategies that earned the Airport Health Accreditation from ACI.

  1. Adapt facilities to reflect new customer health expectations: Visitors at SEA will see a number of changes, from hand sanitizer dispensers and physical distancing reminders to new ways for people to shop and dine.
  2. Communicate crisis to confidence health-related changes to provide reassurance: As a key source of information for the traveling public regarding COVID-19, SEA is in constant communication across all channels regarding health related changes and actions. 
  3. Deploy innovative products and procedures for a healthier travel experience: SEA is exploring new technologies that facilitate a touchless airport experience, and state-of-the art programs that keep travelers and staff safe behind the scenes.
  4. Drive policy developments around industry best practices and protocol consistency: SEA is leaning on strong engagement with the airport industry, as well as lawmakers and federal agencies, and establishing clear objectives to ensure it is leading with best practices.
  5. Actively embrace the unknown: SEA is intentional about seeking information and developing best practices to address the challenges of COVID-19. It has formed tighter partnerships with industry partners and airport stakeholders. SEA is constantly examining the “what ifs” to keep its focus honed on a safe travel experience now and in the future.

Read about the FlyHealthy@SEA Action Plan

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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