MANILA - Cebu Pacific passengers bound for General Santos City from Ninoy Aquino International Airport may be screened for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through a free antigen test in a 2-week dry run for their COVID-19 screening program.
In a statement, Cebu Pacific said it forged a partnership with the local government of GenSan and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's diagnostic clinic for the dry run of a "Test Before Boarding" program.
Passengers do not need to shell out money for the antigen tests during the dry run period, which will run from December 3 to 14, the airline added.
Travelers are required to present negative COVID-19 test results before taking off, in compliance with the city's pandemic task force protocols.
Both Cebu Pacific and the GenSan local government hope to encourage tourists to travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as containing the disease through enforced lockdowns has affected the tourism industry.
"We welcome this development through Cebu Pacific, because it opens up more people to the idea of traveling again. We believe this will be a breakthrough initiative, as it will allow our residents to feel more secure and not be wary of arriving passengers from Manila,” GenSan Mayor Ronnel Rivera said.
"Safety has always been our topmost priority and in this current environment, health is part of safety. We look forward to the results of this pilot so we can pave the way for a more confident restart of non-essential travel and a standardization of requirements across all Philippine destinations. We would also like to laud General Santos City for piloting TBB with us, said Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific’s VP for Marketing and Customer Experience.
Aside from the negative antigen test results, passengers are required to fill out an information form at least 24 hours before their flight.
They must also secure travel authority and be able to check-in online 5 hours before departure to give them enough time to be tested.
Once tested, the results will be released within 30 minutes.
Those who tested positive will be referred to another testing facility for the RT-PCR swab test - considered the “gold standard” in testing for the virus.
Cebu Pacific anew assured passengers it is taking measures to keep flights safe from the virus.
“Extensive daily disinfection of aircraft, HEPA air filters onboard that can filter out 99.99 percent of viruses, frequent cleaning of passenger surfaces at the airport and inflight, and enhanced self-service online portals so guests can easily manage flights,” Cebu Pacific said in the statement.
"Strict contactless flight procedures are also in place, such as boarding pass scanning, required online check-in and self-bag tag capabilities,” they added.