Air travellers glide through the ‘new normal’ at Malaysia Airports

Airline passengers have praised the smooth process at KLIA despite comprehensive procedures. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Travellers have lauded Malaysia Airports for the smooth process in handling airline passengers despite comprehensive procedures required under the “new normal” conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Avineesh Suppiah, 19, who had flown into KLIA from Penang, told FMT that he was happy with the airport’s efficient procedures and felt very safe.

He was also impressed by the airport’s thermal scanners which use artificial intelligence to detect whether or not someone is wearing a face mask.

“They did not slow down the process. It felt just like before, but with a few extra safety precautions. I am comfortable with it and will be doing a lot more travelling in the next few months,” he said.

He noted that airport staff were all wearing masks as well as face shields, while the SOPs were adhered to very well, including the one-metre physical distancing requirement.

Mohd Almy Rahul Moideen, 44, told FMT of the comprehensive measures he encountered travelling to Sabah, adding that he flies once every two months from KLIA to Kota Kinabalu for work.

He said those with identity cards registered outside Sabah were required to undergo an interview on entering the state: officers asked him about his address, purpose of visit and workplace in Sabah, and briefed him on the home quarantine order.

Although the process seemed tedious, Almy praised the airport operator and authorities for the stringent precautions taken, saying he did not mind them continuing to the end of the year.

Retail worker Nur Hafiz Kenny, 27, told FMT that the immigration counters at klia2 were adjusted to quicken screening procedures. “It is more convenient to queue, with fewer turns, to speed-up the process. The airport was very much in order,” he told FMT after his flight to Sandakan.

He said passengers were also more than happy to comply with the SOPs, which the cabin crew constantly reminded passengers about.

Tarania Suresh, a 23-year-old Malaysian student in the United Kingdom, said her experience in KLIA was a huge contrast to when she was departing from London Heathrow airport.

While she had to go through numerous checkpoints upon returning, including a swab-test checkpoint, she said she felt safe, which was also helped by the staff’s hospitality.

“I was prepared for the whole process to take two to three hours, but it was done in just about 40 minutes to an hour,” Tarania told FMT.

She added that upon arriving at the baggage collection area, all the bags had already been taken off the conveyor belt and arranged with one-metre separation, which made it easier for passengers to locate their luggage.

Malaysia Airports group chief executive Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh recently said the company will strive to maintain a safe environment at airports and to restore confidence in air travel with high-tech procedures, including contactless security screening and automated disinfection using ultraviolet light.

“We hope to see larger increases in traffic numbers as we go forward,” he said.