'COVID passport' will be essential when international travel reopens: Cebu Pacific boss

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2020 03:40 PM

NAIA Terminal 1 personnel perform routine disinfection as a precaution against COVID-19 on Oct. 28, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — COVID-19 "passports" to show peoples' inoculation and infection history will be "essential" when the Philippines opens up international travel, the head of the country's largest budget carrier said Monday. 

A single, global COVID passport will assure territories that travelers will not bring in the respiratory disease, said Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of Cebu Pacific and JG Summit Holdings, Inc. 

"We do think that’s essential, especially as we open up international travel. Ang dami-daming (there are many) different vaccines and I think we have to work on a single, global COVID passport so that each country respects the passport," he told reporters. 

However, without resolving confidence and safety fears through vaccination and herd immunity, "there’s nothing to be spoken about," he said. 

"That has to be the number one priority: to get vaccines in the hands in as much of the global population as possible, and then connecting this to a COVID passport," he said. 

Video courtesy of PTV

The Philippines is "slowly" beginning to see an opening up of domestic travel with the easing of restrictions, Gokongwei said.

Cebu Pacific is "looking to work" with local governments to further boost domestic travel, the tycoon said. 

The Airline sector is “under severe stress” and poised to lose P25 billion this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. 

“People have to gain confidence back in flying, and that’s the only way our business will recover,” Gokongwei said.