Qatar Airways will force all passengers in economy to wear face shields – but the measure will not be mandatory for those in business class.
The announcement comes as part of a wider move to increase safety measures that will see passengers provided with a single-use surgical face mask, disposable gloves and alcohol-based hand sanitiser, in addition to a new protective gown for cabin crew.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the safety of our passengers has been our highest priority. By introducing these additional onboard safety and hygiene measures, our customers can rely on us and our unparalleled expertise to fly them safely to their destination. As the largest international airline flying consistently throughout the pandemic, we have become one of the most experienced in safety and hygiene. We will continue to lead the industry in terms of the services offered to our passengers, so that they can travel with confidence,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker.
Qatar said the discrepancy in policy on wearing face shields is due to business class customers enjoying “more space and privacy”. Customers in economy will be able to take them off while eating.
Parents flying with children should advise them to keep wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the journey, although children under two years of age are not advised to wear face shields and face masks or coverings.
During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear their face mask or covering as well as the face shield.
The airline is now the biggest international carrier in Australia after its share of passengers travelling to and from the country leapt from just 3% to 44.5% in April.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the airline has also applied other additional health and safety measures onboard its flights. Qatar Airways’ aircraft are regularly disinfected using cleaning products recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Its aircraft feature the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants from re-circulated air, providing the most effective protection against infection.
Since mid-February, Qatar Airways has helped reunite almost two million passengers with their loved ones, operating a mix of scheduled and charter services plus extra sectors. Globally, Qatar Airways relaunched 11 destinations on 1 July. This marks the largest number of route resumptions in a single day since Qatar Airways started to rebuild its network in what the airline has dubbed ‘Takeoff Wednesday’. By mid-July, its network will expand to more than 65 destinations worldwide.