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    How the world’s 5 busiest airports are handling coronavirus precautions

    Since its emergence in March 2020, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected every nation on earth and millions of people, changing lives in numerous ways. The pandemic has also driven redefined hygiene standards in private and public spaces. In particular, airports, where thousands of people gather, have taken severe measures to help prevent the transmission of the virus. Read on to learn how the world’s five busiest airports are handling coronavirus measures.

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    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with the world’s highest capacity and the most visitors, has taken significant precautions against COVID-19. Common spaces in the airport are cleaned far more frequently and environmentally friendly disinfectant kits are placed throughout the airport. Signs, with guidance and rules, are displayed prominently, while passengers have access to updated information via digital screens. Furthermore, active communication is maintained with area hospitals.

    Hartsfield-Jackson has also implemented the Hygiene Monitoring System. Known as KOLO, this system identifies the availability of hygiene materials in accordance with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, creates disinfection lists, and offers various services for health and cleaning practices upgrades. Facility managers utilize the scoring method for further improvement of hygiene and practice precautions.

    air traffic control tower at Hartsfield Airport

    Beijing Capital (PEK) and Beijing Daxing airports (PKX)

    Beijing, the capital city of China, has two airports, having the world’s densest human traffic. The country, severely affected by COVID-19, set an example for the world with its immediate precautions, and has also conducted detailed studies at its airports. Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport have initiated simultaneous applications against COVID-19. Every passenger who enters the terminal has their temperature measured and is guided accordingly; more than 10 facilities have been established at the airports for this purpose.

    The transfer of passengers between the two airports and redesigning the terminals are priorities. To avoid large clusters of passengers, the redesign aims for a more balanced distribution of passengers. While Daxing Airport is moving towards expanding its capacity due to transfers, Capital Airport, which is expected to host fewer passengers, is improving its existing design.

    aerial view of Beijing Airport

    Dubai International Airport (DXB)

    One of the most crowded airports in the world is Dubai International Airport. Kits containing masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand disinfectants are provided to all passengers at the airport. It is mandatory for passengers and employees at the airport to wear gloves and a mask. Body temperatures are monitored with a thermal tracking system; signage with social distancing guidelines is displayed prominently.  

    The frequency of cleanings has increased throughout the Dubai Airport. In addition, magazines and other printed materials have been removed to minimize the risk of contact transmission; barriers to ensure distance between passengers and employees have also been installed. Transit passengers are scanned and employees, wearing PPE, direct transit passengers in a contact-free manner.

    airplanes at the Dubai Airport

    Haneda International Airport (HND)

    Already considered one of the world’s cleanest airports, Tokyo’s Haneda International has doubled down on its strict hygiene rules. Disinfectant and antibacterial wipe stations are available throughout the airport for both employees and passengers. All equipment is thoroughly cleaned between use, and all persons in the airport wear protective face masks and face shields to further prevent transmission of the virus.

    Markers are positioned to maintain social distance, while passengers board flights in distanced groups of 10 to 20 people. Each passenger has their temperature scanned. To facilitate tracking, there are also counters located in certain places.

    air traffic control tower at Haneda Airport

    Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

    Like the airports listed above, precautions at Los Angeles International Airport cover a number of points. Contact surfaces such as elevator buttons and handrails are cleaned frequently, as are restrooms and common areas. As well, the compliance of maintenance staff with sanitation rules is regularly audited. Only passengers with tickets are permitted to enter the airport, to reduce human density.  

    Hundreds of disinfectant stations have been installed at LAX, along with the distribution of individual hand disinfectants to offices at the airport. Signs are displayed prominently, to remind both employees and passengers of social distance and hygiene guidelines. These guidelines are reinforced with directions and warnings. To make everyone feel safer, the airport’s coronavirus policies are published in heavily trafficked areas. LAX is also in contact with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health on airport emergencies; processes for those passengers who are suspected to have the virus and require quarantine are clearly determined, and carried out with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under the rules designated by the presidential protocol, incoming passengers are screened for viruses upon arrival depending on where they have been in the last 14 days.  

    LAX sign of Los Angeles Airport

    BONUS: Istanbul Airport (IST)

    At Istanbul Airport, comprehensive hygiene procedures were implemented at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Passengers without a mask are not permitted to enter the airport, and the temperatures of all passengers are measured by thermal cameras. To further minimize the risk of infection in the Airport, visitors are not admitted except under certain conditions.

    Contactless systems have been installed in the Istanbul Airport for the necessary procedures and disinfectants are placed at all crossing points. Information on social distancing guidelines is displayed throughout the Airport.  

    Autonomous ultraviolet systems are used to clean the terminal, as well as other points, such as escalators, that are frequently used by passengers. Ultraviolet systems are also used for passport and luggage cleaning. In addition, fresh air is regularly supplied into the terminal.

    The IGA Hygiene Team, operating since the beginning of the pandemic, regularly conducts inspections ensure that these rules and protocols are followed.

     External view of Istanbul Airport

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