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Thu, 2 April 2020

Qatar Airways Suspends JFK Flights; Madrid and Barcelona Next

Qatar Airways has suspended flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and will suspend flights to Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) from 4 April, and Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) from 5 April.

Passengers that have booked, or are planning to book, tickets for travel up to 30 September 2020 can alter their travel date free of charge, exchange their ticket for a future travel voucher valid for one year, or get a refund.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said, “At Qatar Airways we continue to work hard to take people home to their families, while also ensuring robust health and safety practices to limit the spread of coronavirus. We are adjusting our flight schedules on a daily basis, and since the outbreak of the virus we have stepped up our already robust hygiene practices. In these efforts, we do not work alone – I am grateful for the support we have received from local and national governments and entities, whom we are working in close partnership to overcome this pandemic.”

Qatar Airways Airbus A380 reg: A7-APF. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Qatar Airways has implemented numerous policies to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and employees.

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. As the current pandemic has escalated, cabin crew have been authorised to wear surgical masks and disposable gloves.

In addition, Qatar Airways has revised its distribution of cabin crew on flights, sending two groups on short-haul and medium-haul flights – the first to manage the outbound trip, the second to manage the inbound trip. For long-haul flights, crew members who have to stay overnight in a foreign city can only travel in Qatar Airways-approved transport and must remain in their rooms, limiting human interaction.

In terms of passengers, Qatar Airways is encouraging social distancing where possible, especially on flights with lighter loads. Distancing is also implemented during the boarding process, ensuring passengers are allocated seats far apart from each other. The airline is also encouraging passengers to follow hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as regular hand washing and refraining from touching the face.

Qatar Airways’ aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% 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 microbial lethal temperatures, and then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing disposable gloves.

At Hamad International Airport (HIA), transfer passengers are being processed in a strategic way that minimises contact with staff and each other, to ensure social distancing. Most food courts and food outlets have been temporarily closed following Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) guidelines. Some food and beverage outlets remain operational with passengers following social distancing measures.

 HIA has also suspended retail and service outlets except for some essential stores like the pharmacy.

The airport has also stopped the use of passenger trains, escalators, moving walkalators and elevators, and have stopped the use of baby strollers and prayer rooms.

Transfer passengers undergo thermal screening, especially those coming from countries with a severe coronavirus outbreak. Advanced thermal cameras have been installed that can remotely record the body temperature of each passenger. If a passenger is detected to have a fever, they are transferred to a specialised clinic at the airport arrivals side.

See latest Travel News, Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: Qatar Airways.

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