A handful of airlines around the world are starting to resume operations following the implementation of measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19. In Southeast Asia, AirAsia is mandating compulsory safety measures that include face masks and social distancing.
With AirAsia to begin flying domestic routes again starting May 1, the carrier has issued a statement on its website, telling customers that the wearing of a face mask and adhering to social distancing will be mandatory.
Passengers must have a face mask
Malaysian newspaper the Malay Mail is reporting that all AirAsia passengers must bring their own face mask and wear it before, during, and after their flight. These safety measures also apply to passengers when checking in at the airport and retrieving baggage.
When addressing the new coronavirus safety measures, AirAsia chief safety officer Captain Ling Liong Tien made it clear that the new policy will be strictly enforced.
On top of the two rules we just mentioned, passengers will only be allowed one small carry-on, not weighing more than five kilos to help facilitate social distancing when getting on and off the aircraft.
Ling hopes this will help stop passengers coming into contact with each other when having to deal with their hand luggage.
Passengers will have their temperatures taken before the flight
Another measure AirAsia has put in place is mandatory temperature checks at boarding gates. These checks will also take place before and after shift changes for all AirAsia crew members.
“Of course, social distancing will need to be observed, so there will be floor markers in queuing areas, including check-in counters and kiosks.
“Another safety precaution will be alternate check-in counters to ensure sufficient distance, and we are also working to have contactless check-in processes as well,” he said.
Ling added that cabin crew would be required the wear PPE that includes face masks and gloves while onboard the aircraft. He also adds that cabin crew are trained on managing suspected unwell patients or passengers on board.
“Safety is the most crucial component of the aviation industry, and we will definitely continue to strive towards ensuring that this ever-important mode of connectivity meets all required health and safety standards for both our employees and our guests,” he added.
Resuming domestic flights from May 1
AirAsia said that it was ready to resume domestic flights and some international flights starting from Friday, May 1. Thailand will see scheduled flights start on this day, while flights to India will resume May 4, Indonesia May 7, and the Philippines May 15.
“The resumption of services will initially be for key selected domestic routes, which will increase gradually to include international destinations around the network, once the situation improves and governments lift borders and travel restrictions,” AirAsia said in a statement carried by The Star.
The Kuala Lumpur-based low-cost carrier said that flights could now be booked using credit cards on its website and also on the AirAsia app.
In the same statement, AirAsia went on to say that more announcements regarding routes and services would be announced in the coming weeks and that the airline hopes to have full operations back up and running as soon as possible.