Building trust in flying again after the pandemic

PETALING JAYA: The civil aviation sector must build confidence between governments, industry, and air travellers as well as entities beyond the aviation sector, such as the health and immigration authorities, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister said the removal of quarantine and tests for COVID-19 would certainly help to raise confidence among travellers.

“The key elements that affect and slow down the recovery rate of aviation must be addressed first including quarantine requirements, testing requirements, and visa/entry permit requirements for travellers.

“In reopening borders, lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers, remove testing requirements for entry gradually, and ease visa/entry permit requirements.

“For airports, some of the top operational challenges during this recovery stage are manpower constraints, health documents check, and Covid-19 tests at airports,” he said during his opening statement to the panel discussion titled “Reviving Aviation, Rebuilding Connections” at the Changi Aviation Summit 2022, at the invitation of the Singapore government.

Dr Wee added that Malaysia has done well in keeping up engagement among the various aviation and health stakeholders on these issues, to identify problems and devise solutions.

“Eventually, Malaysia's implementation of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) initiative with Singapore, Cambodia, and Thailand was a major part of our efforts to address travellers’ expectations and regain their confidence to travel by air.

“Moving forward, we must also pursue digitalisation and sustainability in airport and aviation operations as key to building resilience for the future in the civil aviation industry.

“CAS 2022, gathering 300 global aviation leaders, policymakers, and senior executives from more than 45 countries, reminds us of what we need to do to revive aviation and rebuild connections to get us all back on our feet towards economic recovery,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (May 17).

Dr Wee joined the discussion with fellow panellists and speakers including Indonesia’s Transport Budi Karya Sumadi, European Commission director-general for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong, and Airports Company South Africa CEO Nompumelelo Z.Mpofu after Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran delivered his opening remarks.

Dr Wee also thanked and applauded Iswaran and Singapore’s Transport Ministry for being excellent hosts and for the successful inaugural CAS 2022 jointly held with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

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