SEPANG – Penang International Airport (PIA) welcomed its first passengers travelling under the new Singapore-Penang Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) By Air Programme today. Flight AK1730 by AirAsia was the first VTL flight to touch down at 6.40 pm carrying about 60 passengers under the programme. The aircraft received water cannon salute while passengers were greeted with mementos to mark the special occasion. Penang is the second Malaysian destination introduced after Kuala Lumpur under the Singapore-Malaysia VTL programme. There are four airlines operating under this programme i.e. Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines and Scoot.
Managing Director of Malaysia Airports, Dato’ Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said this is a positive move by the Government to stimulate international traffic and tourism leading to economic growth, “PIA has always been the second busiest airport after KL International Airport (KLIA) in terms of international passenger traffic so expanding the programme to include Penang will contribute to the revitalisation of our tourism industry. Penang is also a gateway to the northern states therefore this can benefit neighbouring states such as Kedah, Perak and Perlis as well. As a start, we are expecting between 1,000 to 2,000 VTL passenger movements during the first week of operations.”
“The VTL programme is good for encouraging international travel within safe parameters. While our borders will reopen on 1 April, this programme will still be beneficial for travel between Malaysia and countries that have not fully open their borders. Similar to KLIA, PIA now has private health screening services operator at the airport to provide COVID-19 screening tests. We have also obtained support and approval from the authorities to implement the ‘Test and Release’ arrival process for all VTL by Air programmes,” he added.
All arriving VTL by Air passengers have to undergo the mandatory COVID-19 screening tests by the private health screening operator. At PIA, passengers can be assured of prompt and comfortable service by the operator who has set up 10 screening test booths and a full-fledged lab to generate the results quickly at this new facility. For further convenience, passengers are advised to pre-book the screening test at https://quickmed.care/penang-airport/.
The ‘Test and Release’ arrival process which is effective on 16 March will allow passengers to immediately leave the airport to their declared accommodation upon clearing immigration without having to wait for their COVID-19 RT-PCR screening test results at the airport. This provides greater flexibility and comfort to VTL passengers while they wait for their test results. Once the test result is confirmed to be negative, their HSO status in MySejahtera will be lifted by the authorities within 24 hours and they can proceed with their activities freely.
As the nation transitions into the endemic phase and gears up for the reopening of borders, Malaysia Airports works closely with the authorities to facilitate a smooth airport experience for all passengers while ensuring the required safety protocols and health processess are implemented accordingly to keep everyone safe.
All VTL passengers are reminded of the following travel guidelines prior to departing to Malaysia:
• Check thoroughly with the respective authorities on your travel eligibility and other requirements before you head over to the airport.
• Ensure that all travelling documents including health declarations are completed prior to check-in.
• Download or update the MySejahtera application beforehand and fill up the relevant forms such as the Pre-departure Form and MySafeTravel (VTL) under the Traveller tab in the main homepage.
• Pre-book COVID-19 screening test at www.airport.doctor2u.my for arrivals in KLIA and https://quickmed.care/penang-airport/ for arrivals in PIA.
• Undergo a professionally administered COVID-19 RT/PCR test within 2 days before departure.
• Purchase mandatory travel insurance with a minimum coverage of RM100,000 for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs.