COVID-19: The world’s safest airport identified

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Fiumicino Airport Image
Representational Image

Italy’s Fiumicino Airport has been named the first airport in the world to achieve “COVID-19 5-Star Airport Rating” from Skytrax, a ranking body for the international airport industry.

Though Skytrax is best known for its annual rankings of the best airports in the world, the global COVID-19 crisis has prompted the firm to come up with an airport hygiene category.

The company has based its ranking on “a mix of operational efficiency checks, visual observation analysis, and ATP sampling tests,” according to a release from Skytrax.

The most busy airport in Italy’s Rome, Fiumicino Airport (FCO), is also known as the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport.

The airport opened a 7,000-square-foot COVID-19 test center on September 1, which is co-managed with the Red Cross of Italy.

But it’s not just the structuring and rapid testing facilities that Skytrax noted in its FCO analysis. The airport scored points for easy-to-read signs in several languages, clearly present cleaning staff, strict enforcement of mask wearing protocols and efficiency. The airport is maintaining high efficiency, thanks to the relocation of all incoming and outgoing flights to a single terminal for easier monitoring.

So far, only European airports have been tracked by Skytrax, whose head office is in the United Kingdom.

In addition to the five-star rating of FCO, three other airports were awarded three stars for their COVID response — London’s Heathrow (LHR), France’s Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) and Spain’s Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP).

Five stars suggest “very high levels of airport cleanliness and maintenance procedures,” while four stars are “good” and three “average,” according to the Skytrax rating system. Two stars, the lowest possible ranking, indicates that the anti-COVID protocols at the airport “require improvement.”

In the coming days, as more national borders begin to open, Skytrax hopes to rank airports in the Middle East, North America and Asia.