Measures have been put in place to safeguard the health and safety of employees and stakeholders at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) Inc.
Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAIA Inc., Terry Layne, gave this assurance during a recent press conference held to update the country on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the island.
Mr. Layne said that from January, steps were being taken to safeguard workers at the airport and the wider airport community.
He outlined that COVID-19 drills were held as well as sensitization sessions, which included presentations by the Czar of COVID-19, Richard Carter.
During those sensitization sessions, employees of GAIA Inc. were informed about the benefits and risks associated with using personal protective equipment, as well as personal hygiene and social distancing.
“We’re taking our responsibility seriously …. I want to reassure Barbadians that we do take the lives of not only GAIA Inc. staff, but the over 2,000 people working at the airport; we take their health and their life very seriously … and that we will continue to do what we can to make sure they feel safe,” Mr. Layne said.
With regard to hand hygiene, the acting CEO noted that the availability of hand sanitizers in the arrivals area at the airport had been increased, and noted staff had been making sure that persons were sanitizing as they enter the hall.
Referring to the repatriation of cruise ship passengers, Mr. Layne said they were being escorted in “security bubbles” from the port directly to the side of the aircraft for boarding.
“We’re working with the airlines to see how we can ensure that they see Barbados as a preferred partner. So, from the airport’s point of view, we have a responsibility to several persons, several entities. We have been working feverishly to make sure that we have a plan that protects our workers, but also protects our partners to the best that we can,” he said.
The acting CEO noted that the repatriation process was being viewed favourably by the passengers and stakeholders.
“Persons have responded positively, they’ve spoken to the fact that Barbados, as a whole, has been able to facilitate them, being able to put on charters and make landing rights, landing slots available in time and in a duration that they have not seen with other airports, and it speaks to the testament of what we have here in Barbados,” he disclosed.
Based on the response from the cruise ships and airlines, Mr. Layne believes the work done by GAIA Inc. could be beneficial to Barbados after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think that it can only benefit us after we come through this crisis, where not only ships but other airlines who may not have called Barbados home, because of how we’ve been able to come together as a country and work, you know what [they may say], let’s give Barbados a chance because the people and the infrastructure and the apparatus there is beneficial to us, so thanks,” the acting CEO said.