MAHB marked a significant moment for its airport when Penang International Airport welcomed its first passengers travelling under the new Singapore-Penang Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arriving on flight AirAsia AK1730. After being under pandemic curfew for 2 years, the borders finally opened for foreign travellers, a sign of some normalcy is returning to the island.
All 60 passengers on board witnessed the auspicious water cannon salute which is normally given to maiden flights or new planes. Penang is the second Malaysian destination introduced after Kuala Lumpur under the Singapore-Malaysia VTL programme.
Four airlines are permitted under the VTL programme which are 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.
Dato Iskandar, expects between 1,000 to 2,000 VTL passenger movements during the first week of operations adding that while borders will reopen on 1 April, this programme will still be beneficial for travel between Malaysia and countries that have not fully opened their borders. Similar to KLIA, PIA now has private health screening services at the airport to provide COVID-19 screening tests and soon to implement the ‘Test and Release’ arrival process for all VTL by Air programmes.
As part of the SOP, all arriving VTL by Air passengers have to undergo the mandatory COVID-19 screening tests by the private health screening operator.
Those applying for the VTL access should take note 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