Philippine Airlines says it has adopted new protective measures in the wake of the coronavirus crisis as it plans to gradually resume some of its domestic and international services in June.
“As we uphold the health and safety of our passengers and staff to mitigate the risk of infection, we seek the cooperation of our flying public. This must be a concerted effort,” said PAL president Santa Maria.
The carrier has made face masks/coverings mandatory during the flight. PAL said it will enforce a “no-mask-no-fly policy” in coordination with airport authorities. Travellers are required to bring their own face coverings.
PAL said crew members will be equipped with Personal Protective Equipment, including masks, face shields and specially designed PPE uniforms.
Passengers travelling with the carrier will be served meals and beverages in “secure packaging” to minimise close contact, and reading material will no longer be distributed during the flight.
In terms of cleaning, PAL also said its Boeing, Airbus and De Havilland aircraft undergo “rigorous” cabin disinfection. Windows, seat back video screens, tray tables and seats are wiped clean by “trained personnel” before every flight.
The airline said it has equipped its aircraft with HEPA filters “that trap viruses, bacteria and other contaminants with 99.9% efficiency, the same technology employed in hospital operating rooms”.
PAL is encouraging passengers to check-in online, and said passengers “must ensure” that carry-on bags are limited to just 7 kilos (15 lbs), with maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 36 cm (14 inches) and height of 23 cm (9 inches).
Passengers will be requested to arrive early at the airport, where they will walk through disinfection tents/floor mats, undergo thermal scans and expected to “observe social distancing procedures”.
According to PAL, check in counters and ticket offices will be equipped with transparent barriers, while airport personnel will wear face masks, shields and gloves.
PAL said its pilots and cabin crew will undergo medical evaluation before their flights.
“All personnel are trained to the appropriate health protocols and handling of unwell passengers,” it added.
The Philippines’ flag carrier is planning on resuming some of its services on select routes starting June 8. However, Philippine’s Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) advised airline companies to cancel the resumption of their flights on June 1, according to local newspaper The Philippine Star.