Ferenc Liszt International Airport has been awarded the international WELL Health-Safety Rating. The rating confirms that the airport operator is taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of passengers and staff. During the rating process, independent experts examined five focus areas at the passenger terminals (cleanliness, emergency preparedness, health, air and water quality, stakeholder involvement). Previously, only airports in the US and Canada had earned the rating.
Budapest Airport was also a forerunner in implementing health measures during the coronavirus pandemic, and ensured that the measures listed in official international recommendations were in place weeks before they were published. The airport operator ensured the protection of passengers and staff through continuous disinfectant cleaning, maintaining a distance of one and a half meters between persons, installing partitioning plexiglass screens and hand sanitizing stations, organizing additional maintenance of the ventilation system, ensuring adequate fresh air exchange and prioritizing contactless administration, and it still maintains many of these measures.
In recent years, the pandemic also highlighted the importance of the quality of our built environment in safeguarding our health, which is why Budapest Airport has reviewed and further developed its processes for a safe passenger experience, with a focus on health protection and emergency preparedness. This means that the airport operator is taking all possible measures to prepare for the rapid and effective management of any emergency, be it a pandemic or any other circumstance that could potentially threaten the safety of aviation and passengers. In order to examine these processes from as many perspectives as possible and to demonstrate its crisis resilience, Budapest Airport applied for the rigorous accreditation process required for the international WELL Health-Safety Rating.
The WELL Health-Safety Rating is designed to support business owners and operators in protecting the health of staff, visitors and other stakeholders. The inspection covers five areas: cleaning and sanitization procedures, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, air and water quality management, stakeholder engagement and communication.
The process ends with the awarding of the WELL Health-Safety seal, which is a sign of a company’s commitment to the health and well-being of the visitors of the building it operates. The rating process is typically undertaken by office building and hotel operators, but Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is one of the first airports to have started the rating process, and has successfully obtained it for passenger and community areas. No European airport has previously been rated, only aerodromes in the US and Canada.
“The airport terminals are a special area from a health and safety perspective, with more than 50,000 people passing through in a single day and with staff on duty 24 hours a day. Operating a busy facility like this, which accommodates people from many different places, requires a lot of attention and expertise, and in many cases, special equipment,” said lászló eiszrich, chief technical officer of budapest airport. He added: “during the rating process, we had to meet strict criteria; in addition to the cleanliness of the terminals, air and water quality, the experts also examined the crisis resilience of budapest airport’s strategy, in the event of a possible emergency. I am proud that we passed the test, because it shows that our airport is completely safe.”
Key health and safety measures have remained in place at the airport as the pandemic has subsided; contactless solutions have been prioritized and the hand sanitizing stations have been maintained. Budapest Airport also pays special attention to air quality at its terminals; it regularly inspects ventilation equipment and designs airport processes to reduce exposure to exhaled respiratory particles as much as possible. The company is also committed to protecting the health of its staff, by providing access to more health services and, in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, it explicitly promoted immunization, i.e. vaccination.
The newly achieved WELL Health-Safety Rating recognizes Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport’s commitment to prioritizing health and safety measures in accordance with ICAO Council Aviation Restart Task Force recommendations and in alignment with the joint EASA and ECDC Aviation Health Safety Protocol and ACI EUROPE’s Guidelines for a Healthy Passengers Experience at Airports.