Emirates has set out a number of health and safety measures to protect crew and passengers from the spread of Covid-19 as it starts to relaunch scheduled flights.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer, said that the risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is “already very low”.
“But we have spared no effort in reviewing and redesigning every step, from check-in to disembarkation. Every measure implemented is an additional reduction in risk, and taken altogether, our aim is really to make flying as safe as possible.”
Emirates has introduced complimentary hygiene kits to be given to every passenger upon check in at Dubai International Airport and on flights to Dubai. These kits comprise of masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.
Gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees at the airport in Dubai, while only masks are mandated on Emirates flights. On arrival at the airport, thermal scanners at various areas monitor the temperatures of all passengers and employees.
Physical distancing indicators have been placed on the ground and at waiting areas to help travellers maintain the necessary distance at check-in, immigration, boarding and transfer areas.
The airport team has also installed protective barriers at each check-in desk and immigration counter to provide additional safety reassurance to passengers and employees during interaction over the counter.
Customers travelling through Dubai International Airport and transferring onto another flight, will go through thermal screening upon disembarkation. Transfer desks at the airport have also been installed with protective barriers as a precautionary measure.
Airport staff, dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) will direct customers from a safe distance for extra assistance. Customers will be given an additional hygiene kit at the gate before boarding their connecting flight.
The boarding sequence has been staggered and passengers board by row, from the last row to the first, in small numbers. The waiting area has also been modified to ensure all customers observe social distancing. Emirates boarding agents, dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), will facilitate the boarding sequence. The boarding gates are deep cleaned and disinfected after the boarding of every flight.
All cabin crew on board will be fully kitted out in PPEs. To uphold the highest standards of safety and hygiene, Emirates has added a cabin service assistant (CSA) to the crew complement on flights over 1.5 hours. The CSAs will ensure lavatories are cleaned at frequent intervals of every 45 mins. Each lavatory has been equipped with sanitising soap and hand washing instructions.
To minimise the risk of infection by touch, magazines and print reading material will not be available during this time. In premium classes, single use menus and wine lists will be provided to passengers. Comfort items such as mattresses, pillows, blankets, headphones and toys will be hygienically sealed. Emirates will resume its service with hot meals, using cutlery and crockery sterilised before each use.
Cabin baggage have to be checked-in, and customers can only bring essential items such as a laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items on board. Customers are reminded to bring pens to fill out Health Declaration Forms required for some destinations.
To safeguard its employees, Emirates' flight and cabin crew are provided with cars for pick up and drop off at their home at the beginning and end of their duty. Operating crew check in for their rostered flights in a dedicated crew airport facility before being transported to the aircraft.
Layovers in destination cities have been reduced where possible and on long-haul flights, where layovers are necessary, crew are put up in individual rooms in hotels. On return to Dubai, where all Emirates cabin crew are based, Covid-19 tests are done on all crew. Every crew member has been mandated a 14-day quarantine in their homes after every flight, unless they are on duty.