Rome’s Fiumicino Airport has been named the world’s first five-star anti-COVID airport thanks to its excellent safety and hygiene measures. 

The airport industry ratings body Skytrax (the same agency that runs the World Airline Awards and World Airport Awards) gave Rome's Fiumicino Airport the "COVID-19 5-Star Airport Rating" after conducting a three-day audit there earlier this month. According to Skytrax, the rating was based on "a combination of procedural efficiency checks, visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests".

Health workers wait for passengers arriving from high-risk countries to carry out rapid antigenic tests for Covid-19 at a testing station in Rome Airport
Health workers wait for passengers arriving from high-risk countries to carry out rapid antigenic tests for COVID-19 at a testing station set up inside Leonardo Da Vinci airport ©Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Fiumicino Airport, also known as Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, is Italy's main airport. On September 1 it opened a large on-site coronavirus testing centre with the Italian Red Cross, and introduced an in-house Bio-Safety team of 40 staff members to facilitate with social distancing and mask compliance throughout the airport. Skytrax CEO, Edward Plaisted noted the success of these frontline staff in keeping passengers and fellow staff safe through its "excellent job in delivering COVID-19 protocols."

Auditors were impressed with the ubiquity of easy-to-read signs in multiple languages throughout the airport, and noted the visible presence of cleaning staff in customer-facing areas. According to the report the airport is continuously assessing its hygiene methods for improvements and is currently testing several UV sanitisation methods at high-contact points such as elevators and escalators.

Skytrax has audited four airports so far to see how they're reconfiguring in the wake of the pandemic. London's Heathrow was awarded a three-star rating, scoring points for its mask usage, easy-to-read signage and availability of hand sanitiser. However, according to Skytrax auditors, there was "a lack of consistency across different areas, both for cleanliness and expected control of social distancing." 

Málaga Costa del Sol Airport and Nice Côte d'Azur Airport were also audited and both received three-star ratings.

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