On March 20th we received the good news that the mask mandate 😷 on public modes of transportation (i.e., buses, subways) was lifted! Wearing masks went from being mandatory to being recommended after three long years. You now have the choice to wear a mask. Even on the plane! 🙌🏻
There were many moments when people grew tired of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Incheon Airport was also heavily affected with a major slow down in travel. However, our efforts to fight and prevent COVID-19 didn’t stop. We’ve been working hard all across the board, including establishing a smart quarantine promotion strategy, setting up a COVID-19 testing center in our airport, and other meticulous response measures. 👩🔬
Incheon Airport has been gradually seeing a recovery in passenger demand! Thanks to your interest and support, we were able to survive through the hard times. Today we’ll share with you the achievements that have been made! ☺
From smart airport to smart quarantine airport!
1. Establishing a master plan for smart quarantine measures at Incheon Airport
With our passengers’ safety being our top priority, Incheon Airport created a smart quarantine master plan to help restore aviation demand. The following are our four main strategies with 12 strategic tasks to ensure a clean and safe airport in this post-pandemic era. We wanted to go beyond just being a smart airport to becoming a smart quarantine airport. Smart quarantine airports rely on non-face-to-face or automated procedures, from the moment you get off the plane to passing through customs and immigration.
In addition, we established our “Incheon Airport Quarantine Model” 🙋♀️ to prepare for situations that affect domestic and foreign immigration policies and aviation demand even in post-pandemic times. The typical airport quarantine processes were organized into a special “prevention management system” and a “prevention specialized plan”, all made possible by the excellent medical and digital infrastructure in Korea.
The “Disaster Management System” features timely quarantine management measures for the three stages of “prevention-preparation-response” in the event of an epidemic such as COVID-19. During the “prevention” stage, a thorough disinfection plan was established to streamline disinfection procedures and secure quarantine resources at all times by regularly managing necessary supplies👩⚕️. Trends in infectious diseases were monitored and potential risk factors in our facilities were regularly inspected. In the “preparation stage”, still early on in an outbreak, intensive quarantine measures are to be implemented to eliminate risk factors as soon as possible. Also, an emergency contact system is to be established by designating the right organization(s) as the point(s) of contact. Finally, during the “response” stage when the spread of infectious diseases has already expanded, the focus is to be placed on specialized countermeasures in controlling the spread of the infectious diseases as much as possible while trying to minimize inconvenience to passengers.👍
One-stop for COVID-19 testing and results!
2. COVID-19 Testing Center at Incheon Airport
In December 2020, the first COVID-19 Testing Center opened on the west side of the first basement floor in Passenger Terminal 2. There are now a total of four COVID-19 Testing Centers in operation. Currently, due to the lifting of the mandatory inspections conducted for incoming travelers from China, there are fewer people visiting our testing centers allowing for more flexible operations. 😊
Since it is possible to get a COVID-19 PCR test and have those negative results issued within two to four hours, many travelers couldn’t help but be attracted to Korea. In addition, in order to ease the burden of travel costs for passengers, starting September of 2022, the cost of PCR tests and the issuance of test results were reduced to make the whole process more affordable. As a results, 930,000 people have chosen to get tested so far!
Easy to make reservations to take a PCR test!
3. COVID-19 Testing reservation service “Safe2Go” launched
When it was required for travelers to receive a PCR test and get issued negative test results, many people were overwhelmed by the whole process. It’s understandable for people to have felt discouraged thinking, “Isn’t there a way to make this all a little easier?” 🤔.
An integrated system has since been established for COVID-19 testing, including for reservation, on-site registration, pre-examination procedures, payment, and issuance of test results. It’s called the “Safe2Go” service! If you make an online reservation in advance, you’ll be able to save time by not having to fill out paperwork on-site. This helps prevent situations where you write wrong information because you’re in a rush to get on your flight! For those that want to use this convenient service 😆, visit the sites below!
COVID-19 Test Reservation Service “Safe2Go” Site
– EONE Laboratories (Terminal 1 (East)/ Terminal 2) Reservation: https://www.eonelab.co.kr/airport
– Myongji Hospital (Terminal 1 (West) Reservation : https://www.mjhairport.com
First airport to use robots for disinfecting and relaying quarantine information!
4. Establishing smart quarantine infrastructure (fever check kiosks, quarantine robots)
“Fever check kiosks” and “quarantine robots” were introduced in areas with heavy foot traffic, such as the departure hall, departure gates, and arrival hall of Incheon Airport. The “fever check kiosks” can measure body temperature in multiple ways and also provides prompt guidance in the event of a symptomatic case. Fever checks are being constantly conducted for a large number of passengers that are around the kiosk. If abnormal temperatures are detected, a warning sound immediately goes off so that safety measures can be taken!🤩
There are also “quarantine robots” that actively travel from place to place, playing an important role in quarantine processes. There are two type:, a “disinfection robot” and a “quarantine guide robot”. The latter was designed to identify and deliver quarantine issues in the airport in real time using 5G wireless communication. 🤠. In addition, these robots feature autonomous driving, object detection, and automatic charging technologies to ensure effective, efficient, and safe operations!
In particular, the disinfection robots mainly operate in the “regular disinfection mode”, meaning it disinfects all areas of the arrival hall on a set schedule. However, it enters “emergency disinfection mode” 🧹 if issued an emergency disinfection schedule, undergoing a more intensive disinfection routine following the paths of the symptomatic passenger. It automatically disinfects all the areas people have moved through from the arrival gate to the quarantine station using UV-C lamps that are harmless to the human body!
In the case of the quarantine guide robots, they too have two different modes. The first is the “Disaster Guidelines Compliance Mode”, where they detect passengers that are not complying to the disaster prevention guidelines and help inform them on safer behavior (i.e., wearing masks, getting their higher temperatures checked). In the “Disaster and Quarantine Information Mode”, the robots wait at arrival gates informing inbound passengers on quarantine guidelines and procedures.
These disinfection robots and quarantine guide robots were introduced in domestic airports for the first time during the pandemic. They played a crucial role in helping to ensure safer travels for our passengers!
Acquiring accreditation and consulting for overseas airports as a model airport for COVID-19 quarantine measures.
5. Acquisition and renewal of ACI airport quarantine accreditation/ Quarantine consulting for overseas airports
In 2020, Incheon Airport became the first airport in Asia and the Pacific to obtain an Airport Quarantine Accreditation certificate. This was the fruit of all the airport’s labor in COVID-19 quarantine measures. Not only did Incheon Airport get a renewal of the quarantine accreditation in 2021, the re-accreditation was successful last year for 2022 as well! This makes it three consecutive years that we received the airport quarantine certificate, bringing up the standard of global quarantine measures and spreading awareness of airport safety.😎
Following these achievements, Incheon Airport began to consult for other overseas airports. We helped to spread successful quarantine systems and the latest quarantine technology. We have successfully consulted for a total of five airports in Southeast Asia, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Bali, and Chiang Rai. A consultation team was created, consisting of experts from various fields, to help relay our experience and know-how in quarantine measures.
During the past few years when COVID-19 stalled everything, we refused to give up and fought against the tides pushing against us. Amidst these hard times, Incheon Airport grew stronger and became a smart quarantine airport! Today we shared the journey that Incheon Airport went on to reach this point today. We promise to continue to put our passengers’ safety first and do everything we can to keep our airport a safe zone. We ask for your continued interest and support! ☺