In the latest February assessment of global airports’ safe travel measures by Safe Travel Barometer, China’s Beijing Capital International Airport led the global leaderboard with a score of 4.5 – making it the first time an Asian airport has surpassed its Middle Eastern counterparts since last November.
Within Asia Pacific, the next to follow in line were Japan’s Haneda Airport, Singapore Changi Airport, and Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, all tied up at a Safe Travel Score of 4.3 each.
“Since the beginning, APAC airlines and airports have featured prominently in the Safe Travel Barometer’s global leaderboard, alongside their Middle Eastern counterparts,” said Chetan Kapoor, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Safe Travel Barometer.
“As ground zero for Covid-19, APAC aviation stakeholders have taken proactive steps to introduce new safety and hygiene initiatives, and rolled out several traveller-friendly amendment and cancellation policies,” he added.
The “Safe Travel Score” is calculated based on an independent audit of the airport’s safety protocols, and traveller experience initiatives announced, which influences traveller decisions and the actual journey during pandemic times. This is sub-divided into three categories: Covid-19 safety protocols; traveller convenience; and service excellence.
Will digital health passports be a criteria?
While the barometer currently does not take into consideration the ability to implement and execute digital health passports, Kapoor shared that they frequently evaluate various industry initiatives and their incorporation into the Safe Travel Score.
Earlier this month, China had announced the launch of a digital health certificate for its citizens, which authorities believe can one day serve as a “vaccine passport”. The certificate works though the WeChat social media platform and includes details of users’ coronavirus and antibody test results and whether they had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Similarly, Japan is set to issue digital health certificates to citizens who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. These can be be managed via a mobile app, allowing the person to present the proof when boarding a plane.