AirAsia to start vaccination program in May

LOW-COST carrier Philippines AirAsia, Inc. on Monday said it will start a coronavirus vaccination program for its more than 1,500 employees “next month.”

“AirAsia recognizes that the aviation sector plays a critical role as economic and tourism drivers, and we know that getting the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine is the next necessary phase of recovery,” Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Ricardo “Ricky” P. Isla said in an e-mailed statement.

Ground staff, pilots, cabin crew, and others who have direct engagements with passengers will be prioritized, according to the company.

The low-cost airline hopes that the initiative will help restore travelers’ confidence in flying amid a pandemic crisis.

The airline said it also has an ongoing internal information campaign to encourage its employees to get vaccinated.

“It takes everyone to break the COVID-19 chain. I took the shot that is readily available because I believe that it’s our little share of putting an end to this pandemic. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and most importantly, the people we serve,” Mr. Isla said.

Meanwhile, the Tourism department is keen on adopting a platform developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that will enable passengers to digitally manage their travel documents and share their test and vaccination results.

Philippines AirAsia said it has an ongoing regional integration for all its operation centers following the IATA Pass model.

“Although nothing is final yet, what’s certain is that AirAsia will fully support all measures that will further enhance safety and rebuild confidence in air travel,” Philippines AirAsia Spokesperson Steve F. Dailisan said.

IATA’s platform also enables passengers to find testing centers and laboratories at their departure or arrival locations that can conduct coronavirus tests in accordance with the type of test required for their trips. — Arjay L. Balinbin