Things may still be quiet at the terminals of Cologne Bonn Airport, but preparations are already underway for the resumption of passenger traffic. Once international travel restrictions are eased, and airlines gradually resume their services, passengers will be able to fly safely and securely in and out of Cologne Bonn Airport.
To achieve this, numerous measures are being taken in the terminals, processes are being optimised and adapted to hygiene standards, and innovations are being introduced. The health of travellers and staff takes top priority in all of this.
“We’re ready to go, and can’t wait for the terminals to be bustling again,” says Johan Vanneste, CEO of Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH. “To ensure our passengers feel at ease in these unprecedented times and reach their destination safely and in good health, we and our partners have taken a number of measures that will minimise the risk of infection at our airport as long as they are upheld.
“The travel experience at Cologne Bonn Airport will certainly be different to the pre-coronavirus one initially. But we’re making every effort to ensure our passengers feel relaxed and well taken care of at Cologne Bonn as they start their business trip or long-awaited holiday. We’re also relying on passengers themselves being responsible – everyone has to do their bit in order for our measures to work. Let’s help each other to stay healthy.”
Traffic at the airport will gradually ramp up over the coming weeks and months – depending on how extensively airlines resume their services and travel restrictions are eased.
“Initially, we expect there to be a few additional flights in June and are cautiously optimistic for the subsequent summer months. We hope traffic will gradually keep increasing,” says Vanneste.
The terminal is currently undergoing a transformation in preparation for its reopening:
- Conduct in the terminal: Since 11 May, it has been compulsory to wear a mask upon entering the terminals – both before and after passing through security. Passengers and airport visitors who do not have their own mask or a suitable alternative with them may purchase one from the specially designated machines. The restaurants and shops, which have been closed in recent weeks, are gradually reopening. They – like the retailers and dining establishments in the city – must comply with the official requirements, such as reducing the number of seats, maintaining physical distance between guests, and implementing enhanced hygiene measures.
- Check-in: Anyone not travelling must keep their distance. Stickers on the floor remind passengers to keep the necessary 1.5m apart. Barrier tape will also ensure more space between travellers. Airline staff and handling agents will sit behind protective screens at check-in counters. The airport is currently installing these screens. It is generally recommended to arrive at the airport earlier in future. The new, often more time-consuming measures may result in longer waiting times, such as for check-in or at security.
- Security checks: Here, too, floor markings indicate the 1.5m distance that must be maintained between travellers. Access to the security checkpoint will be limited, and passengers will have to pass through one by one. At present, they may only take one piece of hand luggage with them through security; additional luggage items must be checked in. Passengers will be asked to place all small items and pocket contents (such as tissues, keys, wallets and mobile phones) in their hand luggage or outer clothing before entering the security checkpoint. Items such as watches or belts must be placed directly in the trays. All passengers will have to remove their shoes once they have placed their hand luggage on the belt. This is all with a view to reducing the number of secondary checks needed.
- Boarding: Physical distancing is once again top priority, wherever possible. The seats in the waiting areas will also be different, with every second seat being blocked off. Families and passengers travelling together may, of course, sit together.
- Bus transfers:Bus transfers to planes will generally be avoided wherever possible. When feasible, passengers will board/disembark via the airbridges or walk. If a bus transfer is unavoidable, the airport will increase the number of vehicles used. Here, too, passengers and bus drivers will have to wear mouth and nose coverings. The buses will be cleaned and disinfected more frequently.
- Hygiene continues to be a top priority. In keeping with the motto of “Reach your destination healthy”, posters, videos, flyers and announcements in many parts of the terminals will remind passengers to wash their hands and to observe coughing and sneezing etiquette. The airport had already set up disinfectant dispensers across the terminals at the start of the crisis, and more are currently being added. The airport itself has also increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in its terminal buildings, e.g. in waiting areas, with particular care being given to places commonly touched by passengers or staff. These include self-check-in screens and touchpoints, handrails and luggage trolleys.