First flight under VTL-Air from S'pore to M'sia arrives at KLIA to water cannon salute

SEPANG: Malaysia's main international gateway KL International Airport (KLIA) implemented the Malaysia-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane by air (VTL-Air) on Monday (Nov 29), allowing quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated individuals.

The first VTL-Air flight from Singapore ferrying 240 passengers onboard Singapore Airlines SQ108 landed at KLIA at 9.25 am and was greeted with a water cannon salute.

Airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said KLIA and KL International Airport 2 (klia2) would be receiving six VTL flights in total on Monday, carrying mroe than 1,300 passengers from Singapore.

The six flights are operated by Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air, Jetstar Asia and Scoot, it said in a statement released in conjunction with a special welcoming ceremony for the inaugural VTL flight on Monday.

On Nov 8, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong announced that Malaysia and Singapore would launch a VTL between Changi Airport and KLIA on Nov 29.

Upon arrival, the inaugural VTL flight passengers were directed to a dedicated screening zone located at Gate 10.

MAHB said VTL-Air passengers would be processed through dedicated immigration lanes, and the Immigration Department had allocated 11 counters at the KLIA main terminal and four counters at klia2 for this purpose.

MAHB said all VTL-Air passengers are fitted with a blue wristband upon arrival for quick identification by the airport community on their quarantine-free status.

"This wristband is then removed as the passenger exits the airport,” it said.

MAHB chairman Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, when met by reporters after observing the VTL process, said MAHB would ensure that the quality of service remained at the highest level as the airport started receiving more international passengers.

"We will ensure that passengers are satisfied with every process they go through and we will improve the standard operating procedure (SOP) from time to time,” he said.

Asked if concerns over the Omicron COVID-19 variant would affect the VTL-Air implementation, he said MAHB was working closely with the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities to prevent the variant from spreading to Malaysia.

"The variant definitely raises our concern. We have to look into this (Omicron variant) carefully," he said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the new strain a "variant of concern," naming it Omicron.

Several countries have now banned flights from over half-a-dozen southern African nations, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini over fears of the new variant. - Bernama


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