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This Airport Just Became the World’s First to Get a Five-Star COVID-19 Rating

By Michelle Baran

Sep 17, 2020

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Rome's Fiumicino Airport received high marks for its sanitation procedures, social distancing, and face mask policies.

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Rome's Fiumicino Airport received high marks for its sanitation procedures, social distancing, and face mask policies.

Airline rating powerhouse Skytrax has begun evaluating airports throughout the world for their coronavirus procedures and the first one to get a perfect score is . . . Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

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Rome’s Fiumicino Airport has become the first airport to receive a five-star COVID-19 airport rating from global airline and airport ranking provider Skytrax.

The firm recently began evaluating airports worldwide based on measures they have in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The rating takes into account 21 different criteria, including cleanliness, disinfection procedures, social distancing policies and enforcement, face mask enforcement, sanitizer availability, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by airport staff, among others.

Rome’s Fiumicino Airport in Italy scored between four and five stars across the vast majority of categories. The five-star rating “recognizes very high standards of airport cleanliness and maintenance procedures,” Skytrax stated. Rome received high marks particularly for its sanitation procedures, social distancing, and face mask policies.

Skytrax noted that it is important for airports to not just have protocols in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus but also to adhere to them consistently over time. The firm said that it independently analyzes the standards (airports do not self-report any of the criteria) based on visual evaluations as well as factors such as ATP (or adenosine triphosphate) testing, which is used to measure the amount of bacteria and germs on high-touch surfaces. The ATP testing identifies which surfaces have been adequately cleaned and in which areas airports need to enhance their cleaning techniques and/or the frequency of cleaning.

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“We physically visit and inspect airports to determine how effectively their COVID-19 procedures are being provided,” stated Edward Plaisted of Skytrax. “To offer a proper level of assurance of health and safety standards to airport customers and staff, we believe this process is essential because we are well aware that the theory and planning behind such issues is often not delivered consistently in the required frontline positions.”

Rome Fiumicino Airport in June 2020 after it had just reopened following the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in Italy

Rome is the first of four airports that have been evaluated, all within Europe. The other three—London Heathrow Airport, Málaga Costa del Sol Airport in Spain, and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport in France—all received three stars. Heathrow only received three stars in categories including security staff PPE and shopping and dining capacity control. Malaga was dinged for social distancing enforcement and washroom cleanlines (among other lower marks), and Nice received subpar marks for temperature checks, social distancing controls, and terminal cleanliness.

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As Skytrax continues to carry out its COVID-19 airport inspections it will provide new ratings as evaluations are completed. Currently, European airports are being evaluated, and they will be followed by airports in Asia and the Middle East (inspections will begin in October), airports in North and South America (inspections will begin in December), and finally airports in Africa (inspections will begin in January 2021).

>>Next: These U.S. Airports Are Getting COVID-19 Testing Facilities

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