TRAVEL CONFIDENCE. Airline passengers are now more confident to travel if they know the crew they're flying with are fully vaccinated, according to a survey conducted by AirAsia Philippines. An airline official on Wednesday (Aug. 4, 2021) said the survey results on the number of inoculated guests are very encouraging, which means that everyone is keen on taking the shot. (Photo courtesy of AirAsia) 

CEBU CITY – More passengers are now more confident of traveling, knowing that the ground staff and plane crew they are interacting with, before and during their flights are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

AirAsia Philippines on Wednesday said a sweeping majority of its flyers expressed this confidence in a recent survey they conducted.

“We are very pleased that our efforts of inoculating the whole AirAsia Philippines organization have gained the confidence among guests to travel again. Also, the survey results on the number of inoculated guests are very encouraging. Meaning everyone is keen on taking the shot. Soon, we expect to mount a fully vaccinated flight composed of crew and guests who have been fully vaccinated,” AirAsia spokesperson Steve Dailisan said in a virtual press briefing.

In the survey conducted by the budget carrier on July 23, 24, 27 and 28 to 1,600 guests flying out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 to destinations like Bohol, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and Davao, 1,463 or 91.4 percent of the guests answered "yes" to the question, “Does having a fully vaccinated crew add confidence to your flight?”.

Only 132 or 8.6 percent of the passengers answered "no", and have raised concerns about other unvaccinated passengers during their flight.

The airline said as of August 2, 2021, said 67 percent of its 1,500 Filipino crew have received Covid-19 shots. With the threat of the Delta variant, the carrier is proactively campaigning to inoculate its entire workforce within the year.

Meanwhile, 729 guests or 45.5 percent claimed to have been vaccinated; 410 said they were fully vaccinated or were traveling two weeks after receiving their second dose; 190 received their first dose; and 120 claimed to have gotten their second dose.

On the other hand, 868 passengers or 54.2 percent have yet to receive a vaccine while 0.3 percent of the passengers is not yet eligible for vaccination as they are minors.

While vaccination in the National Capital Region remained on top of the priority list of local government units (LGUs), its rollout is still greatly dependent on the arrival of vaccine supplies.

When it comes to the use of vaccination cards, 1,256 or 78.5 percent of the guests said such should be considered in lieu of testing requirements. However, 342 passengers do not believe that vaccination cards are enough. Some said a vaccine passport issued by the Bureau of Quarantine would be more credible as compared to different vaccination cards issued by various LGUs.

“AirAsia is in the process of developing an app similar to the vaccine passport that would help the government in promoting fast, efficient and contactless requirement portals. The app will also eliminate the proliferation of fake RT-PCR results and vaccination cards,” Dailisan said in the press briefing.

Travel requirements during this time of pandemic have taken a toll not only on airline companies but also on travelers. Some 1,443 or 90.1 percent of AirAsia guests think that lesser costs of keeping up with requirements for fully vaccinated individuals will encourage more people to fly. About 152 passengers, however, think otherwise.

At present, a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test with AirAsia’s partner diagnostic laboratory costs between PHP2,500 to PHP3,500, yielding results from 24-72 hours. Government-subsidized RT-PCR test through the Tourism Promotions Board, meanwhile, costs PHP750. (PNA)