Kenya banks on global health accreditation to revive aviation

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Kenya is now banking on a global health accreditation of its airports to rekindle the performance of the aviation sector that has been badly shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Airports Council International's (ACI’s) Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) on Covid-19's health and procedure preparedness will be a boost to global airlines in their push to recover from the economic woes inflicted by the pandemic.

The ACI's AHA programme provides airports with an assessment of how aligned their health measures are with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) recommendations along with industry best practices.

Areas covered by the accreditation include cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing (where feasible and practical), staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.

"We are also in the process of attaining ACI’s Airport Health Accreditation (AHA); a global benchmark, independently assessing an airport’s alignment with ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery Guidelines and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council’s Aviation Restart Task Force recommendations, as well as industry best practices, in the fight against the spread of COVID-19," Kenya Airport Authority (KPA) said in a statement.

The ACI also recognised Jomo Kenyatta and Moi International airports for prioritising customers’ needs during the Covid-19's crisis.

ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) is a world-renowned and globally established global benchmarking programme which measures passengers’ satisfaction whilst they are travelling through an airport.

The two airports have participated in the ASQ programme for over 10 years.

“Your airports have made significant efforts in gathering passenger feedback through ACI’s Airport Service Quality program and this will help you better understand your customers and will inform your commitment to delivering a superior customer experience under trying circumstances,” said ACI World Director General Felipe de Oliveira.

KPA acting Managing Director Alex Gitari noted that the recognition comes at a time when the two airports are undergoing major rehabilitation to improve passenger experience.

“We are employing the industry’s best practice as we seek to adapt a seamless passenger experience at our airports - to provide a safer, smoother and more streamlined airport journey, from check-in to boarding,” KPA boss noted.

"ACI’s Customer Experience Accreditation program offers a structured path for us to hone the knowledge and skills to ensure that we achieve our vision to provide stress free travel to our customers; this is vital as travel recovers.”

ACI is the only global trade representative of the world's airports.

This comes at a time when Kenya is expected to receive its first Covid-19 vaccine this week.

In an interview with Reuters, Mitchell Cotts Managing Director Daniel Tanui said the country is well positioned to store vaccine under its extensive cold-storage facility at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The country boasts modern cold facilities primarily used for the storage and transportation of export fresh farm produce such as fruits and vegetables.

Countries and companies are racing against time to install cold-chain facilities and delivery systems as the Covid-19 vaccine needs to be stored in ultra-cold facilities.

“The fortunate thing about Jomo Kenyatta is that it has the biggest capacity within the East Africa region because of the nature of our trade,” Mr Tanui told Reuters last week.