To aid their recovery, major airline groups have urged the government to allow increased mobility for vaccinated Filipinos, remove travel requirements that cost up to P 25,000 per passenger, and put North America on the list. green countries.
According to the group, strict national and local government policies discourage travelers from traveling to various parts of the country or even overseas, resulting in billions of pesos in lost revenue for the industry.
Most destinations require RT-PCR testing as well as long quarantines for passengers arriving from international flights.
The airline groups have enlisted the help of Presidential Entrepreneurship Advisor Joey Concepcion in appealing to the government.
“For airlines to survive there has to be a sustainable number of passengers, especially for the tourism industry,” Concepcion said.
The government should remove multiple travel requirements, especially for domestic destinations, and costly testing.
With regard to international flights, “Travelers find the requirements, such as tests and quarantine periods, to be very onerous, forcing them to postpone their travel plans,” explained the president and general manager of Philippine Airlines. (PAL) Gilbert Sta Maria and Senior Vice President and Chief. Dexter Lee, Head of Strategy and Planning.
The national carrier has offered to pilot a new protocol to reduce risks and costs for passengers on international flights.
According to the proposal, passengers will be tested 72 hours before departure and will be quarantined on arrival and take an RT-PCR test on the third day.
If the result is negative, they can leave the quarantine facility on the 5th day and continue with the home quarantine.
Based on the data presented, pre-departure testing reduces the positivity rate and risk.
The proposal would also save passengers up to P 25,000 and allow home quarantine, PAL executives reiterated.
Stakeholders also called on the government to place North America on the green country list because it is the largest market for local airlines. PAL alone made $ 1 billion in the North American market before the pandemic.
For its part, Cebu Pacific (CEB) called on the Interagency Working Group (IATF) to issue guidelines to allow fully vaccinated Filipinos to travel to the country to help jumpstart tourism and economic activities.
“They only need to present a vaccination card or DICT vaccination certificate as the only requirement,” according to Cargo vice president Alex Reyes.
However, local government units may require an RT-PCR test for unvaccinated travelers, he added.
If testing is still needed, antigen testing should be used because it is cheaper and more convenient, Air Asia CEO Ricky Isla suggested.
The proposal is similar to the Bakuna bubble advocated by Concepcion.
As part of the Bakuna bubble, COVID-19 guidelines are relaxed for fully vaccinated people to boost the economy and protect jobs for many Filipinos.
The hospitality industry, represented by the executive director of the Philippine Hotel Owners Association, Bong Bengzon, has called on the government to review the number of passengers allowed in as they can handle the influx of tourists once there. open tourism industry.
On the other hand, the bus transport industry supported the call to authorize intra / interprovincial travel of vaccinated people in order to revive their sector.
Maintaining the health of the airline industry is essential to the survival of hotels, travel agents and operators, and tourism-related businesses, mostly small and medium-sized businesses.
Airline stakeholders and Concepcion met with Department of Health (DOH) adviser Dr Edsel Salvana, who pledged to submit their proposals to the interagency working group at their next meeting.
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