When it comes to ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone who passes through its doors, Winnipeg Richardson International Airport takes its role seriously. Nothing has been overlooked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic - a commitment that has caught the attention of a rigorous global health program.
Through its YWG Clean Program, Winnipeg Richardson International Airport has been recognized by Airports Council International's groundbreaking Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) programme. The initiative identifies airports demonstrating professional excellence and carrying out industry best practices in prioritizing public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every aspect of an airport's response is evaluated including cleaning and disinfection methods, physical distancing initiatives, staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities.
"Since the onset of the pandemic, our team has been committed to working together in a manner which ensures we are positioned to protect our community and ensure travellers, visitors and employees feel safe at the airport," said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. "This accreditation is further assurance we're meeting the highest standards. Anyone entering the airport can have full confidence that we have their health and safety in mind."
To provide a secure environment, cleaning practices have been enhanced under the YWG Clean Program. Armed with bottles of solution, an electro-static sprayer and micro-fibre cloths, cleaning crews constantly rotate through the 550,000-square-foot terminal to thoroughly disinfect all touch surfaces. These high-priority cleaning areas can easily be identified through Enhanced Cleaning icons.
Helping to bolster the YWG Clean Program is the implementation of innovative technology such as UV-C handrail sterilizers. The devices have been installed on the escalator leading travellers flying domestically down to the Arrivals Hall. Strong ultraviolet light wavelengths blanket every inch of the handrail as it passes by the device, destroying 99.99% of harmful bacteria.
The air filtration inside the terminal has also been set to match that of a hospital setting and additional hand-sanitizer stations strategically placed in convenient, easy-to-find locations. Every extensive measure implemented through the YWG Clean Program is reviewed on a weekly basis in collaboration with public health officials.
"I'm proud of the work our team continues to do to ensure our community is protected," said Rempel. "The measures we've put in place ensure we can safely support travel now and into the future. We've been responding with urgency and integrity throughout this evolving situation and will continue to do so to meet and exceed public health standards."
The AHA programme is also consistent with the recommendations and industry priorities put forward by ACI's Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel in June 2020. As the report recommends, the restart and recovery of the aviation sector will require a consistent and harmonized approach with clear industry standards and good practices. More airports adopting the AHA programme is a concrete step that airports can take to reaffirm their commitment to health and safety.