by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by TMR FILE
MALAYSIA Airlines Bhd (MAB) has expressed its support for the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) proposal to implement a systematic Covid-19 testing to further streamline and speed up the travelling process.
The company said it has been working closely with all key stakeholders both in the local and international environments to ensure that customers adhere to the requirements of each country that has adopted this policy.
“The airline believes that the right balance can be achieved in preserving the health of global citizens and at the same time, reignite air travel, trade and economic activities,” the company told The Malaysian Reserve.
It was reported that the state-owned airline is expected to increase up to 50% capacity to its network with 150 flights per day by the end of the year and could possibly operate nearly 70% of its network capacity by mid-2021, provided that most countries lift their borders.
Currently, the airline operates between 10 and 15 flights for international destinations including the UK, different cities in Australia, Bangkok and Singapore.
With the limited uptake of international travels, the association proposed to ensure that tests are performed on all travellers before departure to restore mobility and give governments the confidence to open their borders without risk models that see frequent changes in the rules imposed on travel.
This was further supported by the association’s public opinion research, finding that there is a strong support for testing as part of the travel process with 65% of travellers agreeing that those tested negative should not be placed under quarantine.
IATA’s study also found that 84% agreed that testing should be required for all travellers and 88% are willing to undergo testing as part of the process to fly from one country to another.
The public opinion also indicated that a deployment of scalable testing will regain passengers’ confidence in the aviation industry, followed by mask-wearing in public.
Similarly, the association noted that air transport is not the only sector which is in critical need for testing to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Its DG and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the needs of medical personnel must be the priority.
“We recognise that educational institutions and workplaces will also be vying for effective mass-testing capabilities.
“Policymakers must consider the economic stimulus that only aviation can provide when prioritising their testing resources,” he said.
For example, re-establishing global connectivity will preserve traveland tourism-related jobs — which account for 10% of global employment and have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
“This is on top of the critical role that aviation plays in facilitating global trade and business.
“Reopening borders, supported by systematic testing of all passengers prior to departure, should be on the priority list of governments,” De Juniac said.