Qatar Airways has further enhanced its onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The airline said on Tuesday (18 May) that it is implementing several changes, including the introduction of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits for cabin crew while onboard, as well as a modified service that reduces interactions between the passengers and the crew inflight. Cabin crew have already been wearing PPE during flights for a number of weeks, including gloves and face masks.
As an added assurance to customers, cabin crew members will wear the PPE suit over their uniforms in addition to safety goggles, gloves and a mask.
From next Monday onwards, the airline will require passengers to wear face coverings inflight and recommends customers to bring their own masks for fit and comfort purposes.
The airline has also applied other additional health and safety measures onboard its flights. In Economy Class, all meals and cutlery are served sealed as usual. Additionally, large bottles of hand sanitiser will be placed in the galleys and made available for both cabin crew and passengers. All social areas onboard the aircraft have also been closed to observe social distancing measures.
Their aircrafts are also equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing further protection against infection.
Business Class meals will be served on a tray instead of a table set up, and a cutlery wrap will be offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service, in an effort to reduce contact between the crew and the passengers.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “As an airline, we maintain the highest possible hygiene standards to ensure that we can fly people home safely during this time and provide even greater reassurance that safety is our number one priority. Seeing as we are still flying the world’s largest international network by operating flights to more than 30 destinations around the world, and aiming to grow our network again in the coming months, these onboard safety measures will assist us in achieving our goals.”
Qatar Airways has revised its distribution of cabin crew on flights, sending two groups on short-haul and medium-haul flights – the first to manage the outbound trip, the second to manage the inbound trip. For long-haul flights, crew members who have to stay overnight in a foreign city can only travel in Qatar Airways-approved transport and must remain in their rooms, limiting human interactions.
In terms of passengers, Qatar Airways is encouraging social distancing where possible, especially on flights with lighter loads. Distancing is also implemented during the boarding process, ensuring passengers are allocated seats far apart from each other.