Or more to the point they are not. And that is a huge concern.
The commercial aviation industry has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic and Dalaman airport is no exception. Planes have been grounded. Cavernous airport terminals are empty and silent. When the brand new Dalaman terminal was opened in April 2018 nobody could have predicted that just two years later the terminal would be turned in to the aeronautical equivalent of the Marie Celeste.
But the management team have not been relaxing in lockdown. Far from it. In a rapidly evolving scenario they have been busy planning how to get back on track when the circumstances allow.
Since 21st June there have been Turkish Airline flights from London Gatwick to Dalaman but management are preparing for the return of the usual flight operators from various UK airports.
Flights between Dalaman and Germany started on 26th June, and Ryanair (from Dublin) made a welcome return on 1st July. Yesterday saw the first flight to Dalaman from Switzerland.
Below: Ryanair's flight from Dublin to Dalaman landing on 1st July 2020.
The UK government's announcement on Friday 3rd July that non-essential travel to Turkey is now possible, and 14 days quarantine will not be necessary upon return from holiday is exactly the news that the airport's management team were hoping for. They see it as a green light for British tourists to return.
Incidentally, to state the obvious, there is no requirement to quarantine when you arrive in Turkey either.
Preparing for the new normal
Of course they know how to deal with arrivals and departures - it's what they do. But in the 'new normal' things are going to be very different and all the airport staff are being trained on new 'Covid-19 safe' systems and procedures, in accordance with directives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Health.
Dalaman Airport has received Pandemic Certification from the DGCA and will be implementing all required measures.
So what should you expect if you are flying to Dalaman?
Face masks are mandatory on board aircraft and also in all areas of the airport for both arrivals and departures. In the unlikely event that you don’t have one you will be obliged to buy one.
Maintaining a one metre social distance is mandatory. This applies in all areas including waiting in line for service and at the baggage carousel.
Thermal screening and swab (PCR) testing
Thermal screening of passengers will take place on arrival and departure.
Anyone showing symptoms including high fever, coughing or respiratory difficulties will be required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test for coronavirus.
If you don't have obvious symptoms you can't just ask to have a PCR test.
In theory the test can take less than an hour but it may take significantly longer. In the event that a test returns a positive result, you will be provided with medical treatment at a facility determined by the Ministry of Health or, if preferred, at a private medical facility in Turkey at your own expense.
For travellers departing from Turkish airports, including Dalaman, Antalya and Istanbul, if your destination country requires a negative PCR test prior to your flight this can be arranged at the airport. You should arrive 8 hours before your flight departs to ensure you have enough time for the test results to come in. You need to have proof that you are booked on a departing flight. The current fee is 110 TL. The UK does not require this. You can also get this PCR swab test at Fethiye state hospital. You would need to go the day before your flight.
As we understand it the above test for plane passengers is theoretically possible at Kaş state hospital however the time it takes to send off the test and get the results back is probably too long. We don't reccommend using Kaş hospital for this.
Hand washing and sanitisers
Hand sanitisers are available for your use. Additionally you are advised to wash your hands frequently with soap and water in washrooms. In the past KTLN readers have provided us with feedback that toilet facilities were not well maintained; a message we passed on to the management team. They tell us they have acted to improve the situation.
Dalaman's management team tell us that passengers are encouraged to use online check-in if available. This is a matter for airline operators rather than Dalaman Airport. We are not aware that any operators have established such procedures yet at Dalaman. We would welcome your feedback if you know different.
A note about hold luggage and hand luggage. When you book your flights you may well get confirmation that you have got a certain allowance for these items - either as part of the ticket price or paid for as an extra, depending on the operator. However the UK FCO web site says this:
“Passengers are not permitted to carry cabin baggage, other than a laptop computer, handbag, briefcase and baby items with a maximum weight of 4kgs. All other baggage must be checked in.”
Whatever your flight confirmation may say you should be prepared for this eventuality.
Passengers are encouraged to use contactless payment in shops. Note that most shops in the international terminal have not been open but they will reopen when sufficient passenger numbers return.
You will see Covid-19 advice signs and messages in the terminal. Please follow the instructions.
You may notice increased levels of cleaning and disinfectant procedures throughout the building including luggage trolleys.
If you use the CIP Lounge there is no open buffet. You will be served any food and drinks you require.
The ventilation system has been tweaked to introduce more fresh air.
You can get more information from this Dalaman Airport presentation: Dalaman Airport Action Plan
By the way, don't forget you have to complete a Passenger Location Form. You can do this at the airport or on the plane (depending on the operator) but to save time you can print it off and complete it before you leave home. Here is the link to the form: IATA Passenger Location Form
And before you fly back to the UK you must complete a form showing your travel and contact details. You can do this online here: UK Journey & Contact Details Form When you return to the UK you need to show a paper copy of this form or you can have it on your smartphone.
Below: Hamdi Guvenç - Board Member at YDA Dalaman International Airport
Board Member at YDA Dalaman International Airport, Hamdi Guvenç told KTLN, "Dalaman Airport has taken the necessary measures and precautions to provide the safe travel environment for the passengers as per directives of Ministry of Health and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Our staff and the businesses at the airport have gone through the necessary training to implement the required measures.
Our airport restarted the domestic flight operations in the beginning of June, and the international flights started on 21st of June with the first flight of Turkish Airlines to London Gatwick.
Currently we have direct flights to London, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Zurich. Many other routes are reopening, we will receive the first flight from Kiev on 4th July.
Our passengers can be sure that required measures against pandemic are well implemented throughout the airport.
Beyond the airport all the hotels with more than 50 beds are required to have a Safe Tourism Certificate, and many hotels in our region have already been certified.
As a tourism industry we are ready for the arrival of the travelers and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable journey."
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