AirAsia: Unified global protocols essential for cross border air travel recovery

AS vaccines continue to roll out across the globe and domestic air travel looks set to return to pre-COVID 19 levels in the near future, AirAsia has joined leading aviation and tourism experts to call for a standardised approach to travel protocols to help kickstart the international air travel revival.

In order to resume cross border travel activity effectively and safely, a mutually agreed global framework approach is needed, according to AirAsia Group president (airlines) Bo Lingam.

“Travel requirements in the region are currently complex and uncoordinated and travel bubbles are limited and under-utilised,” he pointed out.

“While we welcome the implementation of certain travel passes which are currently being developed or in testing phases, what is needed to stimulate international air travel again, is coordination among countries.”

Towards this end, Bo said the travel and tourism industry must work together with one consistent set of protocols and procedures for guests, notably testing and vaccination requirements, coupled with a mutually agreed common digital health pass and with the expansion of travel bubbles to include the leisure sector.

Bo’s comments follow a recent AirAsia review of COVID-19 procedures and protocols in regional countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Australia.

Bo Lingam

The review confirms that existing travel requirements vary across Asean countries, making it challenging and difficult for travellers to understand and follow.

The different travel protocols across regional countries also pose operational difficulties to airlines and travel operators.

Without common travel protocols, manual verification of health and travel documents becomes more time consuming and is prone to error and fraud, especially with an increase in the use of fake health certification.

“Furthermore, with 40%-50% of the regional population expected to be vaccinated by 3Q 2021, travel policies should be updated regularly to reflect the current situation including the possible removal of quarantine requirements,” opined Bo.

“A good example is in the Philippines where they have recently standardised all the travel requirements in the country and removed the ones that are no longer relevant.” 

AirAsia recently announced its latest innovation Scan2Fly, which enables guests to scan and upload their medical documentation during the online check in process to confirm they are approved to fly in real time before heading to the airport.

The budget carrier will also soon roll out biometric facial recognition technology across key ports, launching in Malaysia’s klia2 from April as it continues to develop new products and services to make flying more hygienic and seamless. – March 4, 2021

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