Faleolo health response recognised
Despite being severely flooded on 18 December, Faleolo International Airport has received new health accreditation status for the safeguards it implemented in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Samoa's only operating international airport was accredited as fulfilling the 2020 Airport Health Accreditation (A.H.A.) standard, a classification that recognises airports’ commitments to health and safety.
So far, Faleolo is only one of two airports in the Pacific region to have this status recognised by the Airports Council International (A.C.I.).
The accreditation follows an A.C.I. assessment of an airport’s health and safety measures put in place to demonstrate to passengers, staff and all other stakeholders that they are prioritising health and safety.
Faleolo International Airport met the requirements with the introduction of hand sanitisers, a two metre social distancing requirement, sanitiser tunnels and infrared temperature cameras for mass screenings amongst other additions.
According to the General Manager of the Samoa Airport Authority, Silimana'i Ueta Solomona, these measures were implemented in consultation with partner organisations such as the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) and airlines.
He further clarified that the accreditation does not take away from the screening measures separately employed by the M.O.H.
He added that many other countries have applied for accreditation since the outbreak of COVID-19.
"It’s new,” he said.
“It [represents] the efforts by A.C.I. to assist airports and travellers, because health and safety are very vital.
"That’s the movement, that all other countries across the globe are heading towards, to inform the people that we are implementing measures for the safety of the travelling public.
"Everything that we have done is measured, [and has] been put in place to not only protect the travellers but also our staff."
According to Director General of the A.C.I.,Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Faleolo International Airport showed great progress in its rollout of health and safety measures.
“After reviewing the evidence presented through our evaluation process, [Faleolo] has shown that it is providing a safe airport experience for all travellers which is in line with the recommended health measures established in the A.C.I. Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines and the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force Recommendations,” Mr. Oliveira said.
"This programme is designed to help reassure the travelling public that airport facilities remain safe and that precautions are being taken to reduce any risk to their health.
All A.C.I. member airports, regardless of their regions and size, are eligible to receive such accreditation but so far only Faleolo and Nadi International Airport have qualified.