Qatar Airways continues to fly people home during COVID-19 crisis

by Geoffrey Thomas & Steve Creedy
1057
May 06, 2020
Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways continues to fly people home during COVID-19 crisis becoming the world’s largest international airline.

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The airline says it is following strict staff bio-security screening procedures for staff operating the flights and is working with global and national authorities to implement the latest guidance on COVID-19 measures.

It has introduced upgraded aircraft cleaning procedures and has a young fleet with advanced air filter screening systems.

SEE The moon, a contrail and a 747.

The airline’s home state of Qatar has barred entry to foreign nationals but is still allowing passengers to transit through its hub at Hamad International Airport.

“Working with embassies around the world, the airline has operated one-off services from destinations such as Phnom Penh, Denpasar, Manila and Kuala Lumpur to Europe.

States that have introduced travel bans are allowing their own citizens to return, although with strict quarantine requirements. People who are not citizens or permanent residents are barred from entering an increasing number of countries.

Qatar Airways is also leading the way in making flying the safest form of transport from an operational and health perspective.

The airline is continually reviewing its processes for ensuring cabin cleanliness and all aircraft are disinfected regularly as part of the normal cleaning process and has led the industry since the Coronavirus started to spread.

After each flight into Doha, the aircraft interiors go through rigorous fumigation with all surfaces wiped down with special disinfectant.

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Armrests, tray tables, video screens, sidewalls all get the treatment, while seat covers are removed. Even the ceiling is cleaned to a factory new condition.

Qatar cleaning

But this is only the start with the airline’s staff trained with the latest hygiene protocols and cleaning procedures, using products recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association.

And most of the airline’s aircraft are fitted with the most advanced air filtration systems available in the market.

These systems are equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97 per cent of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection

According to Dr David Powell, IATA’s Medical Advisor, “many people don’t realize, but the risk of contracting a virus onboard a flight is probably lower than in many confined spaces because modern aircraft have cabin air filtration systems equipped with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters.”

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“These filters have a similar performance to those used to keep the air clean in hospital operating rooms and industrial clean rooms.”

However, in most cases, the air in the cabin is replaced every two minutes.

The outside air, which humans cannot breathe because of the low atmospheric pressure is sucked into the aircraft’s compressors and filters, then heated or cooled as required and fed into the cabin for passengers to breathe.

After each flight, Qatar Airways washes all the linen and blankets, which are dried at 90 degrees centigrade, then pressed using an iron operated at 100 degrees centigrade.

The result is virtually new linen.

The laundry operators use gloves, and the items are sealed into individual packaging.

And the very important food that you will eat on board is prepared in kitchens of Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) which was the first organization in the world to achieve ISO22000:2018 certification from Bureau Veritas with UKAS accreditation, confirming QACC’s Food Safety Management System meets the highest standards.

You can literally eat your dinner off the floor at QACC.

The utensils and cutlery are washed with detergents and rinsed with demineralized freshwater at temperatures that kill pathogenic bacteria. All the sanitized equipment is handled by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves, while cutlery is individually re-packed and again it’s like a hospital operating theatre.

But not only are the aircraft spotless but on the ground at the airline’s superb hub – Hamad International Airport – full and strict airport screening is in place where all arrivals from affected countries are screened to identify passengers with symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus).