- Authorities were satisfied with the airport plans to resume commercial passenger flights.
- Protocols contemplate measures of social distancing, disinfection, use of personal protective equipment, screens to avoid interpersonal contact,
- thermometers, footbaths, among others.
- Airlines are also ready with sanitary security procedures in boarding processes and inside aircraft.
The protocols and sanitary measures designed by Corporación Quiport to guarantee passenger wellbeing at the Quito International Airport were reviewed in detail by authorities from the Government and the Municipality of Quito on Friday, May 15, during a live outbound United Airlines repatriation flight to the United States.
The Undersecretary of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Pablo Galindo, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGAC), Anyelo Acosta and the General Manager of the Metropolitan Public Company of Airport Services (EPMSA), Sandro Ruiz, observed the operation of the protocols and the progress in the adaptations of the different areas in a tour of the Quito Airport. They also received information about United Airlines' protocols.
In accordance with the plan for the resumption of commercial passenger flights drawn up by Quiport, equipment such as thermal cameras will be implemented at the air terminal upon entry to the facilities and in the entrance area to the arrival’s migration hall, in addition to footbaths to disinfect the footwear and luggage wheels. Airline check-in and immigration check-in counters, as well as boarding gate counters are also being adapted to reduce person-to-person contact, protecting both passengers and airport employees.
To facilitate social distancing at the entrance and all throughout the terminal, the placement of floor wayfinding signs has been arranged to guide passengers for queuing at: terminal entrance sidewalk, entrance to check-in counters in, access to security filters, departure migration and arrival migration halls, and ground transportation waiting areas. In boarding lounges, seating capacity has been reduced; half of the seats have been blocked.
The terminal is permanently disinfected using foggers, special equipment that sprays the disinfectant vapor in all areas, allowing the disinfecting agent to cover hard to reach places. For disinfection, a broad-spectrum virucidal is used, employed in hospital operating room disinfection.
The placement of more than 500 hand sanitizer gel dispensers for use by passengers and airport employees is being carried out.
To reinforce security measures, Quiport also transmits sanitary messages on airport screens and makes announcements through the amplification system reminding people of the correct use of masks, maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing and disinfection recommendations.
"We are in the final stage of placing all the items contemplated in the flight resumption plan and we will be ready to return to the operation of commercial passenger flights from June 1, as was our commitment," commented Quiport President and CEO Andrew O'Brian, who also sent a message of reassurance to air transport service users: “all the world's airports and airlines are working diligently in systematically to implement similar protocols under the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in order to reassure passengers. The entire system will have the highest sanitary standards and air transport will be one of the safest activities.”
After the tour, Pablo Galindo, Undersecretary of Civil Aviation Transportation, said that "the performance of the Quito airport is a national benchmark, we have focused on finding solutions to provide security to the passenger and those who work at the air terminal. It is important to visualize the work of Quiport and the support of the Mayor, who do their best to serve the country and also so that the airlines can meet their goal of resuming air connectivity.”
Sandro Ruiz, the General Manager of the Metropolitan Public Airport Services Company, said that “the carefully planned organization by Quiport for the restart of operations is evident; procedures, signage, and above all the well-being of passengers and staff working at the airport take precedence in every detail that has been implemented inside and outside the terminal. International recommendations have been considered and this is worth noting.”
“We want our clients, when they decide to fly again, to do so with the utmost confidence in our ability to provide a clean and safe experience. At United Airlines we are implementing the highest standards in disinfection, signaling and cleaning throughout the entire travel process, from the airport, during boarding, inside the plane and after landing. In addition, all our aircraft in the main fleet use high efficiency (HEPA) filters (like those found in hospitals) that circulate the air and remove up to 99.7% of the particles in the air," explained Bettina Carvajal, General Manager of United Airlines in Ecuador, and invited travelers to find detailed and updated information at www.united.com/coronavirus.
"The Government and Municipality authorities were able to confirm that both the Quito International Airport and the airlines are ready to resume commercial flight operations on June 1 and contribute to the economic recovery of the city and the country," concluded Andrew O Brian.