By Hanah Tabios
Low-cost airline AirAsia Philippines could likely resume its international flights in July.
It plans to focus first on its gradual domestic operations. According to AirAsia’s head of communications David De Castro, the airline has just resumed its first domestic flight Friday (June 5) from Manila to Cagayan De Oro City in Mindanao which departed at 7:25a.m.
“Lahat ng ating efforts ay sa ating domestic resumption po kaya nagagalak ang AirAsia among all the other Airlines na nakabalik na tayo muli sa ere at buhay na muli ang local aviation industry. Slowly po but surely, dadami din yung ating flights (All our efforts will be focusing on our domestic resumption that’s why we at AirAsia, among other airlines, is glad that we are able to fly again and the local aviation industry is finally alive),” De Castro said during Friday’s Laging Handa public briefing.
The aviation industry is just one of the sectors hardly affected by the ongoing global health crisis.
Travel restrictions on both outbound and inbound flights were imposed by the national government amid the spike of coronavirus infections in the country.
While the country grapples with the crisis, leisure travels remain suspended, which De Castro also reiterated in the televised public briefing that only essential travelers, like those who work in skeleton industries, are allowed to book flights.
Clark International Airport also announced that AirAsia is ready to take in guests with flights from Clark to Cebu and back to Clark) and Clark to Cagayan De Oro and back to Clark) beginning Friday, June 5. Next week, June 11, Clark to Puerto Princesa and back to Clark flights will also commence.
Meanwhile, De Castro said only passengers with valid travel documents will be allowed to enter the airport as health and safety protocols were already in place to prevent further infections.
Local regulation also requires all departing and arriving passengers to complete a health declaration form, as well as passenger locator form for contact tracing, just in case.
Domestic travelers who will cross a border also need to secure a travel authority or pass, according to De Castro, as this was required by the Department of Interior and Local Government Unit (DILG), especially when traveling to a place that has already transitioned to general community quarantine (GCQ).
But those who are traveling for work or any official business need not secure such. De Castro also said that AirAsia, like other airline companies, is pushing for contactless flights. Hence passengers are advised to check-in online prior to their departure flights.
Online check-in will generate a digital QR code to mobile phones and passengers only have to present it at AirAsia’s self-check-in kiosks.
“Hindi na po nila kailangan i-press, i-click, o i-touch yung screen ng ating mga kiosks at automatic na magpiprint na yung kanilang boarding pass at yung kanilang mga baggage tags (They don’t need to press, click, or touch the screens of our kiosks as it would automatically print their boarding pass and baggage tags,” he said.
No-contact system has been put up, as the novel coronavirus disease is said to be acquired through droplet transmission, according to health authorities.