ILOILO – A “no vaccination, no fly” policy is now being imposed on airline passengers at the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan town.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is also prohibiting the entry into the airport of people not vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including airport personnel, airline workers, personnel of national government agencies working at the airport, and concessioners.
All people entering the airport must show proof of vaccination. These are the following:
* physical or digital copies of the COVID-19 vaccine card issued by the local government unit, or vaccine certification issued by the Department of Health
* a valid government-issued identification card with picture and address
If not vaccinated, a negative-for-COVID result of a reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test must be presented.
The test must be performed not more than 48 hours prior to entry.
For unvaccinated or not yet fully-vaccinated airport personnel, according to CAAP-Iloilo Airport terminal supervisor Arthur Parreño, the RT-CPR test (required every two weeks) is at their own expense.
There are, however, special exemptions, too, to the “no vaccination, no fly/ride, no entry” policy at the airport:
* persons with medical conditions that prevent their full COVID-19 vaccination as shown by a duly-signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of their doctor
* persons who will buy essential goods and services, such as but not limited to food, water, medicine, medical devices, public utilities, energy, work, and medical and dental necessities, as shown by a duly issued barangay health pass or other proof to justify travel
CAAP director general Captain Jim Sydiongco stressed that prioritizing the safety of the people is a must and the policy will ensure that public spaces such as airport terminals and aircraft remain safe for everyone.
Airlines have been directed, too, to make appropriate arrangements with passengers who booked their flights prior to the “no vaccination, no fly/ride, no entry” policy – either rebook the flight or refund the ticket.
According to Parreño, the strict policy is now being observed not only at the Iloilo Airport but in all CAAP-supervised airports.
As to the seating capacity in airplanes, Parreño said CAAP left it to the airlines to determine.
But by his estimate, a “small” aircraft may be able to fly 80 persons while a “bigger’ aircraft, 200 persons.
Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines support the “no vaccination, no ride” policy.
AirAsia Philippines announced it would abide by the order and continue to fly fully vaccinated travelers as well as unvaccinated ones who will travel for essential purposes.
“AirAsia Philippines considers this initiative as an effective tool to encourage every Filipino to take the shot, and get an added layer of protection against any emerging COVID-19 variant,” said AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Ricardo Isla.
In a statement, PAL expressed “strong support for the initiatives…to promote safe travel during the ongoing Omicron surge.”
It added that it would do its part to uphold the “strictest” safety standards and health protocols./PN