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Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, continues to ensure the highest levels of guest and staff safety with ongoing precautionary measures at airports and on board its aircraft. In recognition of these efforts, Skytrax has certified the airline with its 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating and its 5-Star COVID-19 Lounge Safety Rating at Muscat International Airport, both of which underscore its exceptional level of consistency in health and safety.

Mr. Abdulaziz al Raisi, CEO of Oman Air, explained, “With COVID-19 a persisting reality for global aviation, we continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests and employees at all times. Earning 5-Star certification in two separate Skytrax categories highlights the importance we place—and have always placed—on health and safety, and reiterates our responsibility to make flying as safe as possible for our guests and crew throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

The COVID-19 Safety audit was conducted in January 2021, evaluating a mixture of long haul and regional flights, including the COVID-19 safety standards of the service and facilities at the home base of Muscat International Airport. During February 2021, Oman Air made additional improvements to its COVID-19 procedures to meet the required 5-Star Rating standards.

Edward Plaisted, CEO, Skytrax said: “Oman Air had an enforced break from flying during 2020 and used this time to effectively map out safe travel systems for both customers and staff. The range and quality of measures observed during the recent COVID-19 audit is commendable for not only facilitating appropriate coronavirus protection measures, but doing this in a way that retains a good customer experience in terms of both product and service standards.”

Elevated health and safety standards have been an integral part of Oman Air’s guest experience since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year, and have since remained at the forefront of the airline’s operational priorities. Oman Air was quick to respond to the health challenges brought about by the pandemic—not only on board its aircraft but across its entire guest experience—and safeguarding the flying public in the face of unprecedented crisis continues to guide the airline’s recovery plans and underscores its customer promise to “Fly Confidently.”

The all-encompassing measures were implemented to optimize safety both on the ground and in the air, with careful attention placed on strict social distancing and minimal interactions from journey start to finish. Entry to Muscat International Airport is monitored by thermal scanners, and temperature checks are mandatory for all guests and employees. Protective barriers maintain safe interaction distances between guests and check-in staff, and floor signage around the airport, including waiting areas, reminds guests and staff to maintain a safe distance at all times. Masks are mandatory for all guests throughout their journey, and for all staff at all times.

In the air, food and beverages continue to be offered in the form of bento-style boxes to reduce contact between guests and crew during meal service. Carry-on items are limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase and baby items; all other items must be checked. To further reduce the risk of contact spread, magazines and other printed material are temporarily unavailable and guests can rest assured that only fully sanitized headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, and blankets are handed out on their flight. Onboard service has been adapted for Business and Economy Class cabins, and this comprises hygiene covers for all hot and cold food, reduced contact delivery for meals and drinks, and hygiene kits with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and spare face masks. Staff perform their duties with full PPE including masks and disposable gowns.

The above measures are in addition to enhanced aircraft cleaning and disinfection in Muscat at the end of every journey, the use of high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters that capture 99.97 per cent of bacteria and refresh cabin air every 2 to 3 minutes on all aircraft, as well as the recently implemented My Space program which offers a vacant middle seat to economy class guests.

Multi-award-winning Oman Air has consistently strived for innovation across its operations and health and safety is no exception. With demand for air travel expected to improve as vaccine campaigns roll out around the world, Oman Air will continue to implement precautionary measures which satisfy government regulations both at home and abroad. The airline fully expects to resume more flights to existing destinations as borders re-open and traveler confidence rebounds. The aim, moving forward, is to once again provide its guests with one of the best and safest travel experiences along with the signature Omani hospitality they have come to expect from Oman Air.