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Organizers put safety first for Olympic arrivals

China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-18 10:03
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First impressions count. So, with the world still grappling with the pandemic, safety is a top priority as Olympic personnel continue to arrive in Beijing.

Different from past Games, Beijing 2022 organizers have to consider flight coordination and pre-departure countermeasures, explained Zhang Liang, director of the Arrival and Departure Center of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG).

"As major international sporting events, the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have more participants, but we are facing a higher standard in ensuring our arrival and departure service this time as international flights are impacted by the pandemic," said Zhang.

"We need to conduct detailed arrangements in terms of coordinating flights, health declarations, COVID-19 tests, accreditation activation and customs clearance of Olympic-related personnel at the airport.

"Then there's also transportation and logistical details after they leave the airport, and their security check and check-in to accommodation."

Adding an extra layer of safety, charters and temporary flights are being used as a primary channel for transporting participants to China for the Games. They will be supplemented by business flights, with Beijing Capital International Airport their first entry point, Zhang noted.

As for departure, Zhang stressed that Olympic personnel are not allowed to take business flights as they will depart from the "closed loop" without a 21-day quarantine, which could present risks to other passengers.

Designated areas have been allotted for inbound and outbound trips for Olympic personnel in Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital International Airport.

"We have made full preparations for that," said Zhang. "We can balance the needs of domestic and international flights."

An arrivals and departures information system for Beijing 2022 has been set up to gather details of participants' travel itineraries. The system underwent a dry run during Olympic test events staged from October until December.

According to Zhang, the system collected, integrated and analyzed the arrival and departure information from over 4,000 participants during the test events.

"After garnering information in a comprehensive manner, we could fully prepare for providing quality services for those participants after they arrive in China. Everything is going smoothly," Zhang said.

"We tested our flight safeguarding, airport operation, and arrival and departure service, from the airport to accommodation. Through the test events, we have garnered experience in this process, and we are ready for the Winter Olympics," he added.

"Closed-loop management" for Beijing 2022 began on Jan 4 when Games personnel began to arrive in China.

Zhang said the staff from the Arrival and Departure Center have already been to the venues to accommodate personnel in the closed loop.

"Every day we need to gather and analyze the situation through feedback from our staff at every point, and help them handle some emergencies as well," Zhang said.

"Our service is running almost non-stop for Olympic-related personnel from around the world to help them sort out any problems in arrival or departure," he added.

"Maybe it's midnight in China when those participants arrive at the airport so they could be suffering the effects of jet lag. However, our staff are ready to offer them help at any time."


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