GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) is ramping up preparations for the “new normal” travel experience at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in keeping with government guidelines to contain spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“GMCAC and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) are implementing stringent preventive health and safety measures at MCIA. This is in preparation for the lifting of travel restrictions and the resumption of flight services in line with airline schedules,” GMCAC chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah-Harrison said in a statement.
Airlines have suspended domestic and international flights until May 31 following the extension of various levels of quarantine across the Philippines. Until May 31, Cebu City and Mandaue City are under enhanced community quarantine while the National Capital Region and Laguna are under modified enhanced community quarantine along with Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales and Angeles City.
Among measures to be implemented at the MCIA are:
- Compulsory use of face masks for all passengers and airport employees within the vicinity of Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and adjacent areas
- Mandatory body temperature checks for all passengers and airport employees by airport security staff using handheld thermal devices at all airport entry points while the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) will continuously monitor the body temperature of arriving passengers through thermal imaging systems.
- Hand sanitizing and shoe disinfection for all passengers and employees prior to terminal entry. Hand sanitizers and footbaths are provided at all entry points.
- Social distancing protocols which require three to six feet in queuing points and a one-seat-apart policy in waiting areas will be implemented. There will be visible floor markings to guide the passengers while queueing at high-traffic areas such as entry gates, ticketing booths, check-in counters, F&B and retail stores, boarding gates, escalators and stairs. Moreover, the use of the elevators will be regulated to conform to social distancing protocols.
- Airport procedures such as security checks and check-in will be modified to adopt “no-touch measures” to reduce any means of contact.
- Passengers will be asked to follow gradual aircraft boarding and disembarkation procedures to avoid any queue formation and congestion. All passengers and employees are reminded to always keep right when traversing walkways and lanes.
- Regular disinfection of passenger areas and terminal facilities such as escalators, elevators, stairways, passenger boarding bridges, restrooms, and items that are physically handled by passengers such as baggage trolleys and security trays at the security screening points will be regularly sanitized.
- Passenger areas such as departure boarding gates, arrival reclaim halls, and immigration passport control area will be disinfected at regular intervals.
- Additional alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be installed in public areas of the terminals for the use of passengers and airport employees. Moreover, liquid hand soap in all restrooms will be replaced with medical-grade handwash soap for thorough disinfection.
- A protective clear shield will be fitted and installed in all check-in counters to serve as a protective barrier between the passenger and the check-in agent.
- The isolated holding areas that have been in place since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak will continue to be used as a medical isolation room where personnel from BoQ can conduct quarantine assessment.
- Health advisories based on guidance materials from the IATF, Department of Health, and the World Health Organization will be displayed in strategic locations to provide passengers with ample information on COVID-19.
Harrison asked for the public’s cooperation in implementation of these measures, in particular limiting the number of well-wishers for departing passengers to one companion per passenger.
“This will go a long way in helping us avoid close proximity crowding anywhere on the airport premises,” he said.