MANILA - Regional budget carrier AirAsia on Thursday called on countries to standardize air travel protocols to help the aviation industry recover from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AirAsia said travel requirements in the region are currently complex and uncoordinated. Travelers find it difficult to understand and follow the different COVID-19 procedures and protocols in regional countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and China, the airline said.
The different travel protocols across regional countries also pose operational difficulties to airlines and travel operators, the company said.
"In order to resume cross border travel activity effectively and safely, a mutually agreed global framework approach is needed," said AirAsia Group, Airlines president Bo Lingam.
The airline executive said that while several countries are giving out travel passes "what is needed to stimulate international air travel again, is coordination among countries."
"The travel and tourism industry must work together with one consistent set of protocols and procedures for guests such as testing and vaccination requirements, coupled with a mutually agreed common digital health pass and with the expansion of travel bubbles to include the leisure sector" Lingam said.
It added that with forecasts that 40 percent to 50 percent of the regional population expected to be vaccinated by the third quarter of 2021, travel policies should be updated regularly to reflect the current situation including the possible removal of quarantine requirements.
"A good example is in the Philippines where they have recently standardized all the travel requirements in the country and removed the ones that are no longer relevant,” he said.