World's first 'five-star COVID airport' named in former disaster zone
Rome's international airport scored points for having easy-to-read signage in multiple languages, a strict mask wearing policy, visibly present cleaning staff and rapid virus testing facilities.
Months after Italy was one of the world's worst-hit pandemic zones, the country has been named as home to the first "COVID-19 five-star airport".
Rome's Fiumicino Airport has been listed as the first airport in the world to earn the rating from Skytrax, an international airport industry ratings body.
Though Skytrax is best known for its annual rankings of the world's best airports, the global COVID-19 crisis prompted the organisation to come up with a designation for airport hygiene.
The organisation said in a statement it based its rating on "a combination of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests".
Fiumicino Airport (FCO), also known as Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, is the busiest airport in Italy.
On September 1, the airport opened a 650-square-metre COVID testing centre, which is co-managed with the Italian Red Cross.
But it's not only organised, rapid testing that Skytrax noted in its review of FCO.
The airport scored points for having easy-to-read signage in multiple languages, strict enforcement of mask wearing, visibly present cleaning staff and efficiency thanks to the consolidation of all incoming and outgoing flights to a single terminal for easier tracking.
Only European airports have been rated so far.
In addition to FCO's five-star ranking, three other airports have been awarded three stars for their responses — Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport in Spain, Nice Côte d'Azur Airport in France and London's Heathrow.
According to the Skytrax rating system, five stars indicates "very high standards of airport cleanliness and maintenance procedures," while four stars is "good" and three "average."
Two stars, the lowest possible rating, means that the airport's anti-COVID protocols "need work."
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