|Singapore Airlines introduces a new type of antimicrobial coating service to the SilverKris Lounge at Incheon International Airport as part of its efforts to control COVID-19 infections. / Courtesy of Singapore Airlines|
By Jun Ji-hye
Airlines in and outside the country have joined forces in a worldwide effort to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and minimize damage or inconvenience to passengers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic crisis, airline industry officials said Friday.
Singapore Airlines has recently introduced a new type of antimicrobial coating service to the SilverKris Lounge at Incheon International Airport as part of its long-term quarantine plan for COVID-19 infection control.
The measure was carried out in conjunction with SDLabKorea, a company specializing in next-generation anti-bacterial systems.
The SD999 Antimicrobial Coating is based on SDLabKorea's spike defender solution technology, which provides effective anti-bacterial effects for three to six months per antimicrobial coating.
The quarantine technology has been approved for safety by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Korean Ministry of Environment.
The technology has already been used at Singapore's Changi Airport terminals since February.
Singapore Airlines has ensured that the protective antimicrobial coating is present in the entire lounge, including the reception, cafe, bars, main hall, toilets, shower rooms and kitchen, to guarantee safer use of the lounge for its customers.
"Singapore Airlines considers the health and safety of our customers its top priority and is implementing various preventive measures on board and on the ground to ensure a safe journey," Xavier Ho, general manager at Singapore Airlines Korea, said. "We will continue to maintain a high-quality COVID-19 infection control and quarantine system to provide customers with a safe and pleasant customer experience."
Etihad Airways is allowing guests to change the date of their flights for free at a time when passengers are facing growing uncertainties amid the spread of the contagious disease throughout the world.
Passengers can even choose to fly to a different destination, anywhere on the Etihad network.
One free change is permitted for any journey commencing on or before June 30.
Etihad Airways has also introduced Etihad Credit to allow guests to delay their travel plans freely, permitting a free cancellation and offering the original value of their booking to be used as credit towards their next trip.
As the situation around the novel coronavirus continues to evolve, the new measures will provide maximum flexibility and ensure guests who need to travel do so safely and conveniently, the company said.
"In these unprecedented times, we understand that some of our guests are either unable to, or choose not to travel, and it is our responsibility to help them as much as possible," Robin Kamark, chief commercial officer at Etihad Aviation Group, said.
Etihad Credit is available for all guests who have booked to travel before June 30. Guests can rebook their trip by the end of September for travel until Dec. 31. The difference in fare price will be charged if travelers opt for journeys that are more expensive than the original ticket price.
Additionally, the company will gift monthly bonus tier miles to Etihad Guest Members for three months from March 31 to help them maintain their tier status. Eligible members will receive further information directly.
In a bid to minimize the risk of contracting the coronavirus during flights, the air carrier has implemented various measures prior to departure, in flight and after arrival.
It said its entire Etihad Airways fleet is equipped with cabin air filtration systems of similar quality to those used in hospital operating theaters.
In any confined area, there is a risk of contracting illnesses from other people. However, the risk is considered lower on aircraft because of the use of high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are effective in capturing more than 99 percent of airborne microbes in filtered air.
The company is also undertaking detailed cleaning of its aircraft on arrival at each destination.
|Etihad Airways employees get ready to clean and disinfect aircraft. / Captured from https://youtu.be/ZOle-nMR9Ik|
Etihad cleans all passenger touch points including seats, armrests, tray tables, video screens and control units, windows and window shades, walls, overhead lockers and locker doors, in addition to washrooms and galleys.
When aircraft arrive in Abu Dhabi, Etihad uses the cleaning agent Bacoban, which is known to destroy viruses and other impurities, and remaining effective for 10 days, to prevent recontamination of surfaces if an infected passenger has travelled on a flight.
Domestic airlines including the nation's top flag carrier Korean Air have also enhanced disinfection and quarantine activities for their aircraft.
On March 5, Korean Air began checking temperatures of passengers seeking to take airplanes for all international routes from Incheon International Airport as a precaution against any further spread of the new coronavirus.
The company uses thermal imaging cameras and does not allow passengers with fevers over 37.5 degrees Celsius to board planes.