Malaysians only allowed to fly during MCO for emergency reasons, says Ismail Sabri

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says Malaysians are only allowed to fly for emergency reasons. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says Malaysians are only allowed to fly for emergency reasons. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Malaysians are only allowed to fly for emergency reasons, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today.

He added that although Firefly and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) are still operating domestic flights, the policy on interstate travel by air, land and sea is the same.

This stipulates that those wishing to travel interstate must seek the approval of the district police chief during the movement control order (MCO).

“The government policy regarding interstate movement is the same, whether by land, air or sea.

“For anyone who wants to travel by air, the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is the same as for land and sea, that is only for emergency and health reasons. As the SOP says, they must get police approval before they can travel.

“So, get police approval first before you purchase your flight tickets,” he advised during a press conference in Putrajaya today.

Firefly operates domestic flights across the peninsula from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor, while MAS operates a once-a-week service to Sabah and Sarawak from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Ismail Sabri also said that only the government can decide whether airlines can resume flights as long as the MCO remains in force.

 “I hope airlines will only operate when they are given permission to.

 Previously, I have said SOPs will need to be followed when the MCO ends.

“Even if it were to end on the 28th, this does not mean that everything will be allowed the following day. An SOP will be introduced.

“So, if an airline company wants to sell tickets but the government doesn’t allow them to operate, they can’t,” he said.

Yesterday AirAsia said it is set to resume domestic flights on April 29, subject to the authorities’ approval.

It added that it is set to commence flights in Thailand and the Philippines on May 1, India on May 4 and Indonesia on May 7.

“The resumption of services will initially be for key selected domestic routes, which will increase gradually to include international destinations around the network, once the situation improves and governments lift borders and travel restrictions,” AirAsia said in a statement.

The low-cost carrier said flights are already open for booking via the website and its mobile app.

“Guests may use their credit accounts to redeem for these flights,” it said, adding that further details on more routes and flight schedule will be announced in the coming weeks, subject to approval from the authorities.