Aviation News Philippines site constantly receives inquiries, mostly from OFWs, regarding the resumption of flights in the country. My advice to them is to check their airline’s website from time to time. I also tell them to check online regarding Malacanang’s announcement on the progress of MECQ. In hindsight, it would have been better to wait there (wherever they are) than be here in the Philippines.
Flights, after COVID, will be different. Airlines have safety measures in place to assure passengers that “it is safe to fly” again. AirAsia Philippines, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines have bombarded their social media platforms on how and what they’ll do once the MECQ is finally lifted. Common among the Big 3 is the PPEs that their respective crew will have to wear during the flight. It seems that this will be the de rigueur in the months to come until the menace of COVID is gone.
Flying Safe with Air Asia (culled from Air Asia FB page, 6 May 2020)
Following the government’s face mask policy, Air Asia requires all passengers to wear their face masks to be permitted to travel. Masks must be worn from check-in until baggage claim areas. Passengers must arrive three hours before departure to allow enough time for all the necessary check-in procedures to be done.
Aircraft cleaning is done every night stop. The aircraft undergoes a two-hour disinfection process using cleaning agents approved by the public health authority and the aircraft manufacturer. Before each flight, cabin sterilization is done. Hepa filters are in place to ‘filter’ out particles and airborne contaminants (viruses and bacteria).
Temperature screening is conducted at different checkpoints, including the boarding gate. Social distancing is also observed with floor markers in queuing areas like check-in counters and kiosks. Hand sanitizers are available throughout all the journey points for both staff and passengers.
Passengers are encouraged to use the web or mobile check-in to avoid surface and physical contact. And of course, the crew are updated before the flight on the latest safety information and guidelines and go through temperature screening.
All crew will be practicing proper hygiene standards including wearing of PPEs, and hand sanitation. Food and beverage service will be handled using gloves.
Contactless flights for everyJuan’s safety by Cebu Pacific (press release, 11 May 2020)
Safety on-ground. All Cebu Pacific ground staff are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while on duty. Self-check-in kiosks, check-in, and bag drop counters, as well as shuttle buses will be undergoing frequent cleaning and disinfection procedures to ensure a clean environment. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will also be stationed at CEB passenger areas for guest and staff use.
Self-check-in and no-touch boarding. Before their flights, passengers are strongly advised to check-in online for faster processing and lesser human contact. Travelers will also be expected to come to the airport at least two (2) hours early as check-in counters will be closed 60 minutes before their flights. When carrying more than two (2) luggage, assign only one representative to go to the baggage drop-off counter. Upon boarding, passengers will be required to hold out their boarding passes with the bar code facing the airline staff, for touchless scanning.
Changes in inflight experience. Wearing face masks will be mandatory for all passengers for the duration of the flight. Passengers will have to stow their hand-carry bags in the overhead bins and will be expected to practice self-disposal of trash and waste at the end of the flight. Middle seats will be kept vacant as much as possible to give way for social distancing on board. Cabin crew members will also be strictly implementing no changing of seats during the flight. Orderly deplaning procedures must also be observed by everyone on board.
Rapid crew testing before flights. As part of CEB’s commitment to flattening the curve, pilots and cabin crew members will undergo rapid antibody testing to ensure that they are healthy and in top condition before boarding their flights. They will be given their PPEs and face masks to be worn on duty, gloves for servicing passengers, as well as disinfectants to be used to clean the aisles and seats in the cabin. The operating crew cleared for flights will also be given PPEs and will be trained to assist and isolate guests onboard, as needed.
Keeping cabin air clean and safe. Those flying as soon as the quarantine is lifted will be assured that the cabin air is clean and safe. The airline’s fleet of Airbus jets are equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) filters to block microscopic bacteria and virus clusters, including the Novel CoronaVirus, with 99.9% efficiency. By average, the air inside the cabin is also changed every 3 minutes to maintain fresh and clean air.
Intensified aircraft cleaning measures. Along with maintaining the air circulation in the cabin safe and clean, the airline has also put in effect thorough daily disinfection of all aircraft which follows procedures approved by the Bureau of Quarantine and World Health Organization. These include misting of the cabin using a disinfectant approved for Airbus jets, as well as regular sanitation of all surfaces inside lavatories — from walls, sink, mirror, knobs, toilet bowl, and floors in between flights. All lavatories will also be sanitized every 30 minutes during a flight.
Keeping you safe always by Philippine Airlines (culled from FB post of PAL, 2 May 2020)
Before You Fly:
- Online check-in encouraged
- Arrive early at the airport: 4 hours before departure from Manila (for international flights) and 3 hours before departure from Manila (domestic flights) and other airports
- Thermal scan at airport entrances
- Social distancing at the check-in counters
- Sanitizers are available
- All PAL staff are wearing masks and gloves
- Roaming airport staff to monitor social distancing
- Sanitizing floor mat before entering the lounge. Social distancing is implemented.
- Sanitizers are available
- Meals are served in sealed package and beverage is on demand
- Social distancing at boarding gates and on board shuttles
- Sanitizing floor mat is available before entering the aircraft
- Rigorous cabin clean and disinfection
- Simplified meal/snack service
- Social distancing cabin seating options
- Hepa filters and fresh cabin air to protect against viruses