MANILA - AirAsia Philippines said Wednesday it is appealing to the government to "immediately approve" the public use of the cheaper saliva RT-PCR test for COVID-19 detection.
The saliva tests conducted by the Philippine Red Cross only costs P2,000 compared to the standard P3,500 or more for a swab test, the airline said in a statement.
"The approval of saliva RT-PCR test will surely allow more tourists to afford domestic travel," AirAsia spokesperson Steeve Dailisan said.
"Since saliva RT-PCR is also as accurate as the nasopharyngeal RT-PCR test, we see this as a cheaper alternative for our tourist who plans on visiting their favorite tourist destinations this summer," he added.
Airlines in the Philippines have been implementing efforts to stimulate travel demand to jumpstart recovery.
However, the recent discovery of a variant that originated in the Philippines, as well as the surge in new cases prompted the government to limit inbound international arrival starting March 18.
According to a research conducted by the Philippine Red Cross, the saliva RT-PCR test is 98.23 percent accurate, AirAsia said.
The Department of Health earlier said the swab RT-PCR test is the "golden standard" in COVID-19 testing.