MANILA, Philippines – In a ground-breaking move, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippines have announced that they will no longer require the wearing of face masks on board their domestic flights. This decision follows the government’s recent lifting of the mask mandate and other coronavirus protocols.
Philippine Airlines celebrated the lift, noting that it gives passengers a more flexible flying experience. The carrier declared this as a considerable indication of the normalization of air travel, asserting that “the Philippines is open for business and tourism.” Despite the shift in protocols, the airline assures the continuation of stringent safety measures such as disinfection of aircraft surfaces after every flight, along with the use of High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters and an advanced airflow system within the aircraft cabin.
AirAsia Philippines echoed these sentiments, pointing out that the removal of the face mask policy aligns with the government’s decision to lift the state of public health emergency under Presidential Proclamation 297 and the Department of Transportation’s Order 2023-017. AirAsia Country Head for Communications and Public Affairs, Steve F. Dailisan, reemphasized that although face masks are no longer a policy, guests and crew are still welcome to wear them whenever they deem it necessary. Like Philippine Airlines, AirAsia confirmed the continuation of deep cleaning and aircraft sanitation after every flight.
Both airlines clarified that these relaxed rules apply only for domestic flights. The wearing of face masks for international destinations remains subject to existing health protocols in the country of destination.
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific advised its passengers to continue practicing minimum health standards despite lifting the face mask requirement on board. The airline recommends passengers to check in online to maintain contactless flight procedures and avoid queuing in the airport check-in counters.
The Manila International Airport Authority has also decided not to require arriving passengers to declare their vaccination records or present their COVID-19 test results. However, pre-pandemic procedures like screening of individuals exhibiting symptoms will still be enforced by the Bureau of Quarantine.
In conclusion, the lifting of the face mask mandate symbolizes a significant step towards the return to normalcy in air travel, whilst maintaining a strong emphasis on safety and cleanliness measures. As air travel resumes normalcy, the local carriers are committed to ensuring peace of mind and confidence for all passengers on board.