SEPANG: Malaysia’s main international gateway Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) kicked off the Malaysia-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane by Air (VTL-Air), enabling quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated individuals.
The first VTL flight from Singapore with 240 passengers on board Singapore Airlines SQ108 landed at KLIA at 9.25am yesterday and was greeted with a water cannon salute.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said KLIA and KLIA2 were scheduled to receive six VTL flights in total yesterday, carrying over 1,300 passengers from Singapore.
Besides Singapore Airlines, the other airlines involved are Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air, Jetstar Asia and Scoot, MAHB said in a statement released in conjunction with the inaugural VTL flight.
Upon arrival, the inaugural VTL flight passengers were directed to a dedicated screening zone located at Gate 10.
It was an emotional moment for pensioner Abdul Jalal Mohd Tahir to be finally reunited with wife Khadijah Ahmad after waiting for over a year.
He said she had been working in Singapore and was staying with one of their children.
“I am grateful to be able to see her again,” he said after their happy reunion at the airport.
Abdul Jalal, who is from Johor Bahru, said due to the hybdrid learning system, one of his children decided to accompany Khadijah in Singapore.
His was among the first families reunited following the launch of the VTL-Air scheme.
MAHB said VTL-Air passengers would be processed through dedicated immigration lanes, adding that the Immigration Department has allocated 11 counters at the KLIA main terminal and four counters at KLIA2 for the purpose.
It said all VTL-Air passengers were fitted with a blue wristband upon arrival for quick identification on their quarantine-free status.
“The 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 the quality of service remained at the highest level as the airport received more international passengers.
“We will ensure passengers are satisfied with every process they go through and will improve the SOP from time to time,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Asked if concerns over the Omicron Covid-19 variant would affect the VTL-Air implementation, he said MAHB was working closely with the Health Ministry and other relevant authorities to prevent the variant from spreading to Malaysia.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday declared the new strain as a Variant of Concern (VOC).
Several countries have 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.