Travel was one of the most significant activities to receive a critical hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, the coronavirus was a persistent spreader. Even when the entire world already recorded cases of COVID, local and international travel was still regulated and even restricted, to prevent sequential waves of infections. Even now, over a year since the beginning of it all, travel is still not as free and widespread as it was before. But as more countries and territories push their anti-COVID vaccination programs towards sufficient population immunity, more areas are opening up, like with Hawaii in the US.
As told by The Manila Bulletin, the State of Hawaii has begun accrediting airlines from other nations with its Safe Travel quarantine reduction program, compiling a list of overseas air carriers to be allowed to fly commercial flights to them. One of the airlines now accredited in their list as a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner is the country’s national carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL). They are the first air carrier anywhere in Asia to get on that list, ensuring that passengers on PAL flights bound to Hawaii with verified documentation will not have to put up with arrival quarantine procedures.
To be precise, a PAL passenger travelling to Hawaii need only present a negative RT-PCR test result for COVID before boarding their flight, to ensure that they will no longer have to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arriving at that US state. Of course, it is not just any testing center in the Philippines a Hawaii-bound PAL passenger can go to. They must take their RT-PCR from the airline’s dedicated test centers, as well as a number of facilities also indicated on Hawaii’s Trusted Testing Partners list, to be accepted.
A statement by Hawaii Governor George Ige confirmed their Safe Travel testing program to allow travelers originating from the Philippines via Philippine Airlines to skip arrival quarantine with valid RT-PCR results. PAL Senior VP and Chief Strategy & Planning Officer Dexter C. Lee calls the Trusted Testing and Travel Partner status given to their carrier as a great convenience, volunteering the airline’s COVID testing centers in partnership with the DOH-accredited Detoxicare Diagnostics Molecular Laboratory, for prospective passengers headed for Hawaii.
PAL’s regular flight to Hawaii connects Manila to Honolulu, departing every Friday. Their partnership with Hawaiian Airlines allows for code share service to allow passengers to fly further from Honolulu to Maui, Hilo, Kona and Lihue. The first PAL flight for Hawaii under the quarantine-free travel eligibility starts July 30.
Image courtesy of BusinessWorld