Everyone was consulted on flight rules, says transport ministry

The union of flight attendants has complained that no consultations were held.

PETALING JAYA: In the face of complaints about the relaxing of social distancing rules on passenger flights, the transport ministry said tonight that the decision was not made unilaterally.

The ministry said it had consulted stakeholders in the private and public sectors to take the safety and health of passengers and flight crews into consideration.

Among those consulted were airport operators, airlines, Immigration Department and the Customs Department.

The ministry statement appeared to be a response to a complaint by the air crews union, which said the government “have not even discussed anything with anyone but have already issued a directive which can put our crew and pilots at risk”.

The ministry reiterated Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong’s statement on Thursday that the consultations were guided by recommendations from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and health ministry based on scientific evidence and a robust fact-based risk assessment.

The ministry said the health ministry procedures must be strictly observed. These practices included mandatory use of facemasks, body temperature checks and screening, sanitising of aircraft cabins and contact tracing through passenger manifests.

Wee had announced on Thursday that the government was doing away with social distancing on aircraft, leading to a complaint today by the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia about the lack of consultation.

It urged the ministry to hold discussions with airline industry players and unions to iron out arising problems.

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