SEPANG, Nov 29 — Emotions ran high at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as the Malaysia-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane by Air (VTL-Air) kicked off today to allow quarantine-free travelling for fully vaccinated individuals.
Forced by the lockdown imposed to curb the COVID-19 outbreak for more than two years, families were finally reunited when passengers on board the first VTL flight from Singapore emerged into the arrival hall.
Greeted by a water cannon salute, the Singapore Airlines flight SQ108 with 240 passengers landed at KLIA at 9.25 am.
The returning Malaysians were seen greeting their loved ones in a tearful reunion after being apart for so long.
One of the passengers, Khadijah Ahmad, 54, said she was relieved and felt grateful that Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to implement the VTL-Air as she had not returned to Malaysia for almost two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I feel happy and excited to see my family,” said Khadijah who along with her son were greeted at the airport by her husband Abdul Jalal Mohd Tahir, 58.
“I applied for MyTravelPass to come home but it was not approved. This VTL-Air is surely a good programme and families can finally meet after being separated for a long time,” she told reporters when met upon arrival at the KLIA here today.
Nita Kaur, who is working in Singapore, has not come home to visit her father in Muar, Johor for almost a year but would talk to him every day via video calls.
“I am happy, excited and a bit emotional when I finally can come home. I can’t wait to see my father and I hope there will be no more lockdowns after this,” she said teary-eyed.
KLIA, Malaysia’s main international gateway, today started to welcome travellers from Singapore under the Malaysia-Singapore VTL-Air arrangement.
The airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said KLIA and Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) would be receiving a total of six VTL flights today, carrying over 1,300 passengers from Singapore.
The VTL-Air initiative was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on Nov 8.
Under the VTL, individuals with fully vaccinated status are allowed to travel between Malaysia-Singapore without undergoing quarantine or complying with a stay home notice (SHN) if they passed a COVID-19 test.