Qatar Airways economy passengers now have to wear a face shield, in addition to a face mask or covering, throughout their flight.

The protective kits are complimentary for passengers.

The airline is rapidly rebuilding its international network and has also introduced a new protective gown for cabin crew.

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It plans to resume services between Doha and Auckland at the end of October.

The disposable face shield will be available in adult and children's sizes.

Passengers travelling from Hamad International Airport (HIA) will receive their face shields at the check-in counters, whereas at other destinations, the face shields will be distributed at the boarding gates.

The Qatar Airways face shields. Photo / Supplied
The Qatar Airways face shields. Photo / Supplied

Onboard, all passengers will get a ziplock pouch containing a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel.

Qatar has also introduced disposable protective gowns for cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask.

Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said:the new gear would add to onboard safety and hygiene measures.

''As the largest international airline flying consistently throughout the pandemic, we have become one of the most experienced in safety and hygiene. We will continue to lead the industry in terms of the services offered to our passengers, so they can travel with confidence."

Economy class passengers are required to wear their face shield visor in addition to their face mask or covering throughout the flight, except when they are served their meals or drinks.

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Business class customers are asked to wear their face shield and mask onboard at their own discretion, as they enjoy more space and privacy.

In addition, for aircraft equipped with Qsuite customers are offered even greater privacy with sliding partitions and fully closing doors, and an option to display a 'Do Not Disturb (DND)' indicator if they wanted to limit their interactions with cabin crew.

Parents flying with children should advise them to keep wearing their PPE throughout the journey, although children under two years of age are not advised to wear face shields and face masks or coverings .

Cabin services director Ana Ciobanu in a business class Q-Suite. Photo / Greg Bowker
Cabin services director Ana Ciobanu in a business class Q-Suite. Photo / Greg Bowker

During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear their face mask or covering as well as the face shield.

Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the airline has also applied other additional health and safety measures onboard its flights.

Business class meals are served covered on a tray instead of a table set up, and a cutlery wrap is offered to passengers as an alternative to individual cutlery service, in an effort to minimise contact between crew and passengers.

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Qatar Airways has also introduced single-use menu cards and sealed refreshing wipes.

Economy class meals and cutlery are served sealed as usual, and menu cards have been temporarily discontinued. All social areas onboard the aircraft have been closed adhering to the social distancing measures.

All the airline's onboard linen and blankets are washed, dried and pressed at microbial lethal temperatures, while its headsets are rigorously sanitised after each flight. These items are then sealed into individual packaging by staff wearing hygienic disposable gloves.

Cabin crew have received training on how to minimise their chances of contracting or spreading the infection, are thermally screened before the departure of flights and after their arrival, and are quarantined and tested if any colleagues or passengers on a flight shows any symptoms of infection or test positive for the virus.

Since mid-February, Qatar Airways has flown almost two million passengers operating a mix of scheduled and charter services plus extra sectors.

It relaunched 11 destinations on July 1.

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This marks the largest number of route resumptions in a single day since Qatar Airways started to rebuild its network . By mid-July, its network will expand to more than 65 destinations worldwide.