GEORGE TOWN, Dec 21 — Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), the parent company of Malaysia Airlines, is still awaiting the approval from Singapore and the Malaysian government on the proposal for air Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore and Penang which was submitted several months ago.

Group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said the group hoped that the proposed air VTL route could be implemented as soon as possible in order to revive the economic sector, especially tourism, which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the success in implementing air VTL for some locations should be taken into account as an indicator for implementing it for the two proposed destinations.

“The success of implementing the air VTL route previously should be taken as a benchmark for the implementation of the proposed air VTL route linking Penang and Singapore. However, the decision on the implementation has not been made yet.

“Have to wait for decisions by Singapore and (Health Minister) Khairy Jamaluddin,” he told reporters during a ceremony to launch the partnership between Travel Safe Alliance (TSA) Malaysia and the Penang State Exco Office for Tourism and Creative Economy.

Meanwhile, he added that as a national airline, it would continue to provide the best service in providing a smooth, safe and hygienic travel experience for travellers supported by Firefly and MASwings.

“This is based on our seven-star rating for Covid-19 health and safety measures by Airline Ratings due to strict safety initiatives and procedures to ensure the safety of passengers using our services,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the committee was committed to ensuring that Penang’s tourism sector would recover by providing safe “end-to-end” travel solutions to travellers through the Covid-19 Safety Accreditation Programme launched today.

“I hope the Penang edition of the programme and TSA Malaysia will enable visitors to enjoy their holidays with peace of mind while knowing that their safety is guaranteed as hygiene protocols are well implemented,” he said, adding that 30,000 tourists were projected to visit the state at the beginning of next year.

The VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport was launched on November 29, as announced in a joint statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on November 8. — Bernama