How MENA Airlines Rank For COVID-19 Safety

How do the region's flag carriers perform regarding COVID-19 health and safety precautions?
How MENA Airlines Rank For COVID-19 Safety
Emirates ranks as the safest MENA airline for COVID-19 along with Qatar Airways, according to the Safe Travel Barometer. Image Source: Emirates

The global pandemic has deeply shaken the airline industry as demand for air travel collapsed following border closures and travel restrictions. The International Air Transport Association predicts that the COVID-19 crisis will cost airlines over $157 billion during 2020 and 2021.

As a result, airlines around the world have had to adjust their operations to reduce the spread of the virus before, during and after flights. This includes introducing face mask policies, temperature checks and even medical insurance that covers COVID-19.

In May 2020, Safe Travel Technologies launched the Safe Travel Barometer to monitor how airlines, airports, travel companies as well as popular destinations are responding to COVID-19. They track over 230 airlines and assess how well they perform across 26 different health and safety protocols. Airlines are then given a Safe Travel Score from a low of 1.0 to a high of 5.0.

“The Middle Eastern carriers played a central role during the global repatriation efforts through this pandemic.” Virendra Jain, co-founder and CEO of Safe Travel Barometer

era. examined how flag carriers across the MENA scored according to Safe Travel Barometer. Included in the table below are how each airline scored as well as how they perform across five different health and safety initiatives.

How Middle East and North Africa Airlines Performed

Overall, four regional flag carriers scored above 4.0 and all scored above 3.0. However, there were no scores for Kuwait Airways, EgyptAir and Air Algérie listed in the data. Safe Travel Barometer says this is because these three airlines were only recently added to their platform and are yet to be assigned a score.

Both Emirates and Qatar Airways are the region’s top-performing flag carriers with scores of 4.4. Safe Travel Barometer praised Emirates in October for its in-flight safety measures, such as providing face masks, face shields and hand sanitizer. In addition, its aircraft are sanitized before, after and in-between flights.

Taking its precautions one step further, Emirates provides all its passengers with free 14-day COVID-19 insurance. In addition, the airline made headlines in July by even offering to cover funeral expenses in the event of a passenger death from COVID-19.

Similar to Emirates, Qatar Airways provides passengers with face protection as well as regularly cleans its aircraft during operations.

Speaking about how regional airlines performed, Virendra Jain, co-founder and CEO of Safe Travel Barometer said, “the Middle Eastern carriers played a central role during the global repatriation efforts through this pandemic. Naturally, they pioneered a number of safety initiatives and friendly booking policies to gain a competitive edge over competition. Their safety and service initiatives are often positioned with a hospitality-orientation so as to build confidence among travelers, which is a major differentiator compared to carriers from other regions.”

The Safe Travel Scores of MENA Airlines

AirlineCountrySafe Travel Score (1-5)Disinfection FrequencyThermal ScreeningsFace MasksHealth Declaration FormStaff Face Masks
Emirates🇦🇪4.4After Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
Qatar Airways🇶🇦4.4After Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
Etihad Airways🇦🇪4.3After Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
Oman Air🇴🇲4.1After Every FlightYesBring Your OwnYesYes
Saudia🇸🇦3.9After Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
Turkish Airlines🇹🇷3.8After Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
Royal Jordanian🇯🇴3.8After Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
Gulf Air🇧🇭3.8Once a DayYesBring Your OwnYesYes
Middle East Airlines🇱🇧3.6After Every FlightYesBring Your OwnYesYes
Royal Air Moroc🇲🇦3.4Once a DayYesBring Your OwnYesYes
Iran Air🇮🇷3.3Multiple Times a DayNoProvidedYesYes
Kuwait Airways🇰🇼No Score YetAfter Every FlightYesProvidedYesYes
EgyptAir🇪🇬No Score YetMultiple Times a DayYesProvidedYesYes
Air Algérie🇩🇿No Score YetMultiple Times a DayYesBring Your OwnNoYes
Data correct as of December 7, 2020. No data available for airlines from Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia or Yemen

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