Local airlines are requiring passengers to wear face shields during the flight in line with directives issued by the Philippine government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cebu Pacific said in a statement face shields must be worn “during the entire flight” starting Aug. 15.
“This is on top of the mandatory use of face masks upon entering the airport terminal until arrival at the destination,” Cebu Pacific said.
AirAsia Philippines said the use of face shields during the flight complements other existing safety measures for passengers and employees.
Since the health crisis began, airlines have been implementing more frequent cleaning and disinfection of planes and facilities, testing of crew and ground staff as well as digital check-in options.
The stricter measures come as the Philippines overtook Indonesia as the country with the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia.
The Department of Transportation earlier issued a memorandum circular ordering the mandatory wearing of face shields for all passengers using public transportation.
The directive applies to all public transportation in the aviation and airports, railways, road and maritime sectors.
“Let us remember that no amount of protection is too much when it comes to health and safety, especially that we are battling an invisible enemy,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.
To slow infections, the government reintroduced stricter quarantine measures in Metro Manila and nearby provinces until Aug. 18.
This also forced local airlines, which have been severely hit by the crisis, to suspend all domestic flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s busiest gateway.
Their other domestic flights continue apart from select international destinations.
In a statement, Philippine Airlines said it continues to operate 40 weekly flights out of Naia through its nonstop routes to the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The flag carrier said this was to serve the “urgent travel needs of passengers who need to fly in and out of the country.”
For North America, PAL maintains flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, Vancouver and Toronto. It also flies to the US territory of Guam.
PAL’s Japan network serves Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Tokyo via both Narita and Haneda airports and includes twice-weekly services from Cebu to Tokyo Narita.
PAL offers regular flights to the Middle East (Dubai, Riyadh, Doha and Dammam) as well as to London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
It added that Sydney and Bangkok are served “occasionally.” This was also limited under ongoing travel restrictions or quarantine facility limitations.