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AirAsia: common cross border air travel standards

March 4, 20214 minute read
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With hopes of international travel returning, AirAsia calls for standardised global protocols to facilitate the recovery of cross border air travel. The airline is upbeat about a return of domestic air travel to pre-Covid levels in the near future and sees the worldwide vaccine roll out giving hope to those awaiting the return of international destinations.

Cross border air travel – a standardised approach

AirAsia joins a number of leading aviation and tourism experts, in calling for this standardised approach to travel protocols to help kickstart the international air travel revival.

….. Covid-19 has left a severe impact on everyone and particularly on the travel and hospitality industries. In order to resume cross border travel activity effectively and safely, a mutually agreed global framework approach is needed. AirAsia Group President, Airlines, Bo Lingam

He noted that travel requirements in the region are currently complex and uncoordinated with travel bubbles limited and under-utilised. AirAsia acknowledges the various initiatives and welcomes the implementation of travel passes currently in development or in testing phases, but sees a need for coordination among countries. This is necessary to stimulate renewed international air travel. 

Bo Lingam sees benefit in a three pronged approach, with the travel and tourism industries working in concert. For this to be successful, there must be one consistent set of protocols and procedures for travellers.

This covers:

  • Testing and vaccination requirements,
  • A mutually agreed common digital health pass
  • Expansion of travel bubbles to include the leisure sector
…. Resuming air travel is a collective effort. By working together we will be in a much better position to welcome the return of international flying in the not too distant future, delivering a much  needed boost to the global economy.

His comments follow a recent AirAsia review of Covid-19 procedures and protocols in regional countries covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Australia. The review confirms that existing travel requirements vary across Asean countries.

This makes it challenging and difficult for travellers to understand and follow in various ways:

  • Different travel protocols across regional countries
    • These pose operational difficulties to airlines and travel operators:
  • Manual verification of health and travel documents without common travel protocols
    • more time consuming and prone to error and fraud
    • especially with an increase in the use of fake health certification

The report also concludes that travel bubbles that are currently implemented in the region are mostly limited to business and essential travellers. Business travellers are less likely to provide a much needed boost to the tourism industry as the majority of corporate meetings can now be conducted online. A key recommendation is for the expansion of travel bubbles for leisure travellers to be implemented in phases starting with destinations in safe zones. Facilitating leisure travel provides instant impact based on strong pent up demand. Furthermore travel risk can be minimised through implementation of strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and various measures including point to point controlled travel, fixed itineraries and contact tracing apps.

AirAsia recently introduced Scan2Fly, enabling guests to scan and upload their medical documentation during online check-in to confirm they are approved to fly in real time, before heading to the airport. Scan2Fly was rolled out ahead of globally approved digital passports to support AirAsia’s goal of providing a Covid safe and fully contactless travel experience. Scan2Fly can be seamlessly integrated into other globally approved platforms from different countries, relating to Covid-19 and vaccine solutions.

AirAsia is also soon commencing the 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. For more information on this and other upcoming initiatives, we’ll cover the news as it becomes available. 

# AirAsia, COVID-19, cross border air travel, Flight Resumption, international flights
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