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AirAsia welcomes approval of COVID-19 saliva testing

Aviation Updates Philippines – In a press release on Tuesday, budget carrier AirAsia Philippines said it welcomes the government's approval of the relatively cheaper saliva testing for COVID-19.

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The airline sees this as an opportunity to further stimulate the demand for air travel, after going through a comparably sluggish 2020 due to worldwide COVID-19 restrictions.

AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson Steve Dailisan said, “This will definitely positively increase the appetite of air travelers, especially for AirAsia leisure destinations such as Boracay and Bohol that require RT-PCR test. Saliva RT-PCR test is not only cheaper but also non-invasive and less stringent. 

“While waiting for the vaccine, you can be assured that AirAsia will continue to find ways to offer cheaper alternatives, to lessen the financial burden of the flying public in fulfilling the requirements for air travel,” he added.

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) earlier approved the said test after the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reported a successful pilot testing, which yielded an accuracy rate of 98.11 percent.

The RT-PCR saliva testing, which can generate results after three to four hours, costs around P1,500-P2,000 compared to the RT-PCR swab test which ranges from P3,500-5,000.

As of the moment, only PRC laboratories are allowed to conduct these tests at their initial stage. However, AirAsia said its diagnostic laboratory partner, Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory (PADLab), is now in the process of securing approval from the DOH to facilitate the saliva testing.

With the introduction of the cheap yet effective saliva testing, the airline hopes it would restore passenger confidence in flying.

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