Local airlines to start implementing 'no vaccination, no ride' policy on Jan. 17

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 15) — Unvaccinated people wanting to travel to and from Metro Manila will be barred from taking domestic flights beginning Monday, Jan. 17, with the implementation of the controversial "no vaccination, no ride" policy.

In separate statements, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines said they would only fly fully immunized travelers for as long as the capital region is under Alert Level 3 or higher.

"Effective January 17, 2022, airlines are only allowed to accept fully vaccinated passengers for carriage on our domestic flights to and from Manila," PAL said in a statement, citing the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) new order.

Based on an issued mandate from the DOTr, individuals can be considered fully inoculated two weeks after completing their COVID vaccine.

Passengers must present their vaccination cards, either physical or digital copies. A government-issued identification card with their picture and address is also a requirement.

But there are exemptions. Non-vaccinated passengers with the essential purpose of travel, such as persons with medical conditions that prevent full COVID-19 vaccination, will still be allowed to take the flight. They only need to present a signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of their physician.

Persons who will provide essential goods and services will also be permitted to fly.

Both local airlines have expressed support for the new policy, saying the move would help lessen the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that every passenger is protected against the virus.

"AirAsia Philippines considers this initiative from the DOTr as an effective tool to encourage every Filipino to take the shot, and get an added layer of protection against any emerging COVID-19 variant," Ricky Isla, AirAsia Philippines CEO, said in a statement.

AirAsia Philippines and PAL urged their guests to check their flight status.

If the new order prevents guests from traveling, PAL said they may also opt to convert their tickets to travel credits, rebook or reroute, or ask for a refund.

"We seek your kind understanding, as we are required to comply with government directives for the safety of all travelers and our communities," the flag carrier said.