The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, New York Stewart and Teterboro Airports have received the Airport Health Accreditation from Airports Council International (ACI) World and ACI Americas. The international organization’s new Airport Health Accreditation program evaluates new health and safety measures and procedures introduced at airports worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACI’s new airport health program assesses health measures and industry best practices implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with ACI’s Aviation Business Restart and Recovery Guidelines, ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Recommendations, and ACI Europe Guidelines for Healthy Passenger Experience at Airports (EASA).
The ACI Airport Health Accreditation recognizes the Port Authority’s swift response to the COVID-19 crisis and its work to maintain a safe environment for airport passengers through aggressive cleaning and disinfection programs, physical distancing (where feasible and practical), staff protection, physical layout adjustments, and passenger communications. The Port Authority is now the largest airport system in the United States to receive this recognition for high health and safety standards introduced during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This important acknowledgement shows that the work we’ve done to keep our airport customers safe during the pandemic is paying off,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Our mission to ensure that the traveling public remains safe and secure while using our airports – or any Port Authority facility – is constant.”
“The safety of the traveling public is the Port Authority’s top priority,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The ACI’s recognition confirms that our agency is practicing what it preaches, with a commitment to keeping our airports clean, sanitized, and capable of helping passengers to socially distance effectively.”
Among the factors and locations considered in the ACI health accreditation assessment were terminal access, check-in areas, security screening and boarding gates, lounges, retail outlets, food and beverage locations, boarding bridges, escalators and elevators, and the baggage claim areas and arrivals exit.
Through unified recovery efforts, the Port Authority and its partner airlines and terminal operators have implemented leading-edge capabilities across its airports under four core principles: maximize hygiene, minimize contact, minimize access, and minimize dwell.
Specifically, the Port Authority has:
- Restricted terminal access to ticketed passengers and employees only.
- Required facial coverings and monitored the terminals for passenger and employee compliance.
- Partnered with public and private health providers to open COVID testing sites for travelers and airport workers at passenger terminals at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia airports.
- Deployed over 3,500 hand-sanitizing units and more than 150 hand-wipe units at the airports.
- Ensured continuous regular, vigilant cleaning of high-touch services in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- Installed hundreds of plexiglass barriers at high-contact customer service points.
- Added more than 10,000 signs and social distancing decals emphasizing the agency’s safety and operational protocols which are key to the agency’s overall program.
To communicate these essential advances and the Port Authority’s commitment to ensuring a safe environment, the agency produced Steps To Safety For Airport Customers, a video showcasing safety measures designed to streamline the entire airport journey and keep customers and employees safe.
The public awareness campaign highlights the extensive steps the agency has taken to ensure its customers and employees stay safe and healthy when traveling through and working at Port Authority airports. Other measures, such as contactless technologies, personal protective equipment (PPE) vending machines, are also featured.
The agency has also implemented a mask distribution program at JFK, Newark Liberty, and LaGuardia.