Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, which is owned and operated by the State-owned Airports Company South Africa, has been accredited under the Airports Council International’s (ACI’s) Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) programme, it was announced on Wednesday. The AHA was developed by the ACI after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The ACI AHA programme enables airports to demonstrate to passengers, staff, regulators, and governments that we are prioritising health and safety in a coherent and measurable manner,” highlighted OR Tambo International Airport GM Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana. “While there have been setbacks across the world in combating Covid-19, it remains critical that airports continue to demonstrate to passengers, airlines and governments that we provide a safe environment.”
The AHA programme assesses how the measures adopted by airports meet both the ACI’s Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines and the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO’s) Council Aviation Restart Task Force guidelines. (ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations.)
The accreditation process for the AHA covers all passenger areas and processes at an airport, from access to the terminal, through security screening to the aircraft embarkation bridges, and everything in-between, including the food and beverage outlets. It evaluates an airport’s adherence to best practices regarding cleaning, sanitation, staff and passenger protection and facilities, communication and physical distancing.
“As important engines of growth, wealth creation, and employment, the recovery of the airport sector will be a significant enabler of economic recovery,” she pointed out. “Key to this recovery will be reassuring the travelling public that airports are prioritising health and safety and providing safe and hygienic facilities.”
She affirmed that the AHA programme would help re-establish confidence in air travel. “We are most pleased to receive this accreditation which not only recognises our adherence to international best practice but which also provides the levels of passenger confidence that will support recovery in the aviation sector.”