Qatar Airways has announced that economy passengers now have to wear a surgical face shield as well as a face mask throughout its flights.
The shields will be handed out to all travellers either at check-in or the boarding gate.
However, whether business-class customers wear their face shield and a mask on board is ‘at their own discretion’, with the Doha-based carrier saying they ‘enjoy more space and privacy’.
The face shields that will be handed out to all Qatar Airways passengers. Economy passengers now have to wear one as well a face mask throughout the flight
During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear a face mask as well as the face shield, said Qatar Airways.
The disposable shields are available in two sizes – one for adults and one for children. The children’s shields feature the airline’s Oryx Kids Club mascots as part of their design.
The airline said that parents flying with children should advise them ‘to keep wearing their PPE throughout the journey’, although children under the age of two are not required to wear a shield or mask.
To further enhance safety on board, Qatar Airways said it is also providing all passengers with a complimentary protective kit, which includes a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel.
Those in business class will also be offered an additional 75ml sanitiser gel tube.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has also introduced new disposable protective gowns for cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask.
Qatar Airways is providing all passengers with a complimentary protective kit, which includes a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel
The new branded gowns are an update to the full hazmat-style PPE that was given to staff in May, as we reported, and are personalised with Qatar Airways’ logo imprinted on the top left corner.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, said: ‘Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, the safety of our passengers has been our highest priority.
‘By introducing these additional onboard safety and hygiene measures, our customers can rely on us and our unparalleled expertise to fly them safely to their destination.
‘As the largest international airline flying consistently throughout the pandemic, we have become one of the most experienced in safety and hygiene. We will continue to lead the industry in terms of the services offered to our passengers so that they can travel with confidence.’
Qatar Airways has already made a raft changes to its onboard service in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading.
The carrier said that business class meals are now served covered on a tray instead of a table set-up, and a cutlery wrap is offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service. It has also introduced single-use menu cards and sealed wipes.
New disposable protective gowns are being given to cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask
Qatar Airways has ditched its hazmat-style suits, pictured, which it introduced in May
Economy class meals and cutlery are served sealed as usual, but menu cards have been temporarily discontinued.
All social areas onboard the aircraft have been closed.
Qatar Airways’ also said its aircraft are regularly disinfected using cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
It added: ‘Our aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, 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.
‘All the airline’s onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at lethal microbial temperatures, while its headsets are rigorously sanitised after each flight.
‘These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.
Qatar Airways relaunched to 11 destinations earlier this week. By mid-July, it said its network will expand to more than 65 destinations worldwide
‘Cabin crew have received training on how to minimise their chances of contracting or spreading the infection, are thermally screened before the departure of flights and after their arrival, and are quarantined and tested if any colleagues or passengers on a flight shows any symptoms of infection or test positive for the virus.’
In addition, the airline said Hamad International Airport in Doha has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals.
It explained: ‘All passenger touchpoints are sanitised every 10 to 15 minutes and every boarding gate and bus gate counter is cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitisers are provided at immigration and security screening points.’
Qatar Airways relaunched to 11 destinations earlier this week. By mid-July, it said its network would expand to more than 65 destinations worldwide.