Airasia backs easing of travel restrictions

MANILA, 10 February 2022: Travel and lifestyle brand AirAsia is advocating for more relaxed travel restrictions to spur regional and cross-country mobility.

In a statement released earlier this week, the low-cost airline said it was confident that eased border restrictions would stimulate the necessary economic activity to prompt the recovery of domestic and international tourism – the worst-hit sector during the pandemic.

AirAsia believes that two years into the pandemic, countries have vastly improved their pandemic responses and risk mitigation strategies. With the accelerated vaccination rates of nations across the world and the proven effectiveness of standard safety and health protocols such as proper masking and social distancing, triggering better tourism performance is highly plausible this year.

Through his LinkedIn account, Capital A Berhad CEO Tony Fernandes said, “Over the past two years, we have learned to deal with COVID-19 with masks, social distancing and vaccines. But a key lesson that hasn’t sunk is the futility of long-term travel restrictions.”

According to Fernandes, a better and more sustainable approach would be to promote cost-effective policies such as the massive and speedy inoculation of the greater population. He added, “We should not ban things just to be seen as decisive. Measures should always aim to be proportionate and minimally disruptive.”

AirAsia lauds and supports the Philippine government’s plan to speed up the vaccination of its population, with the third stretch of the nationwide vaccination programme and the inoculation of minors from the 5 to 11 age bracket starting 10 February. To date, 59.81 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 60.65 million got their first dose of the vaccine and over eight million have received their boosters. The Philippines targets to inoculate 90 million individuals by the first half of 2022.

The travel and lifestyle brand also welcomes the national government’s decision to open its international border with more relaxed travel and quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated returning Filipinos and foreign travellers. This also coincides with the increase in NAIA’s arrival cap to 5,000.

“We commend the Philippines’ sustainable approach toward travel. We can only hope that more countries in the ASEAN follow suit in strategically considering the upsides of relaxed border restrictions to their economic recovery. We at AirAsia will continue to support such measures while also consistently being a champion of safe travel,” added Fernandes.

AirAsia Philippines, meanwhile, announced that nine of its domestic destinations – Cebu, Clark, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City, Davao, Tagbilaran, Kalibo, Caticlan, Tacloban – no longer require negative RT-PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers, with the exemption to Puerto Princesa City which only requires a negative Antigen test for fully vaxxed guests. Unvaccinated Minors (17 and below) are also now being accepted in most leisure destinations subject to the guidelines set by the respective Local Government Units (LGUs).