Personalities: Mohd Arif Jaafar, Acting Senior General Manager of Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd

Personalities: Mohd Arif Jaafar, Acting Senior General Manager of Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd

FlyKLIA is introducing a new category called Personalities, where we introduce inspirational figures from among the members of our community. For this article, we are introducing Mr Mohd Arif Jaafar, one of the key persons in charge of creating a better environment at KLIA. We have asked Mr Mohd Arif Jaafar a few questions, and here are his answers:

What’s your role in KLIA?

I am the Acting Senior General Manager of Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd. My main role is handling the terminal operations of KL International Airport as the gateway hub into Malaysia.

How does it relate to handling the current COVID-19 situation?

As the gateway hub into the country, we need to ensure and educate the people on the new norm practices within the vicinity of the airports. Airport operators have also taken measures to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic control mechanism is effective. We are working with all related stakeholders including airlines, the Ministry of Health, Immigration, Royal Customs and others.

I am also the chairman of KUL COVID-19 Committee. This committee sits on a weekly basis since January 2020 to strategize and discuss all COVID-19 related control measures and action plans required. It relates directly to our airport operations because, as an airport operator, we must accommodate the new requirements set by the Government of Malaysia (Majlis Keselamatan Negara) to ensure specific requirements are met for public health assurance. This includes people management, process management and technology required to address the new norm. We need to instill the confidence of air travel, as this would enhance the economy growth post-MCO.

What are the control measures in international airports especially at KLIA? Is there any difference between the local/domestic control measures and the overseas/international control measures?

The control measures in KLIA include:

  • Health screening for passengers
  • Cleaning and sanitization of critical touchpoints
  • Imposing social distancing
  • Imposing protective and hygienic equipment
  • Implementing staff protective related measures
  • Providing awareness and communications to the public
  • Preparing an emergency evacuation plan

At the moment, the only control measure that differs from international and domestic will be health screening for international arriving passengers. Upon international arrival, the airport operator works closely with NADMA, MOH, custom & immigration on control measure to abide by MKN’s directives.

Health Screening for Pax
  • Entry and Exit temperature screening via thermal scanner (International Arrival & Departure).
  • Implementation of health screening and registration at retail outlets.
  • COVID testing by KKM—for Malaysian only.
Cleaning and Sanitization
  • Increase cleaning and sanitization activities at high-contact areas (handrails, trolleys, people movers, counters, etc.).
Social Distancing
  • Physical distancing at all touchpoints.
  • Floor markings, frequent announcements and signage enforcing physical distancing.
  • Rearrangement of facilities to implement physical distancing (terminal seating, retail and F&B outlets, etc.).
Protective and Hygienic Equipment
  • Enforcement of facemasks within the terminal.
  • Hand sanitiser stations at critical areas: all entry points & public areas within terminals (MAHB), retail & F&B outlets (Operators), check-in counters (Airlines), immigration counters (Immigration), etc.
Staff-related Measures
  • Provision of personal protective equipment (PPE: facemasks, goggles, gloves, face shields, etc.) based on nature of works (by respective agencies).
  • Hand sanitiser stations at office areas (by respective agencies).
  • Body temperature checks at the entrance of offices or outlets (by respective agencies and tenants).
  • Minimise the use of “hand-search” by Aviation Security (AVSEC) with the use of handheld screening.
Awareness & Communication
  • Frequent announcements within the terminal (social distancing, dos & don’ts).
  • Physical and digital signage.
  • Public Communication via mainstream media and social media.
  • Internal communication to staff and airport stakeholders via email and weekly committee engagements.
Emergency Evacuation
  • All emergency exits are to remain available during emergencies.
  • AVSEC to direct all occupants to the nearest assembly points.
  • Maintain social distancing during the evacuation process and at assembly points.

What’s your observation before and after COVID-19 towards

the situation

My observation before and after COVID-19 would include

  • Spending habits on operational cost (after COVID-19, the company tightly scrutinised spending).
  • The new norm will impact the work culture including work from home (WFH) and segregation of the workforce to ensure staff safety, meetings are conducted online.
  • Travel objective; most likely, consideration of travel would be based on necessity.
  • The business changes would involve our workforce, process and technology, including optimisation of the workforce, process changes to adhere to global standard requirements and the local government’s requirements while technology will include implementation of contactless technology.
  • The new norm will create opportunities for new business requirements which may include contactless facilities within public facilities like the airport; there will be other new emerging solutions to support the new norm. I am eager to see more innovations to facilitate airport business operations.
your personal life
  • From my personal life, COVID-19 influenced my spending habits: most of the spending is done via e-commerce compared to physical purchases in the past.
  • No social gathering with extended families and friends but more time with immediate family members.
  • Interaction with extended families are now mainly via online and social media only.

What is your advice to the travellers out there?

  • We would like to advise all travellers to embrace the new norm procedures and adhere it strictly to ensure everyone stays safe.
  • Travellers are advised to follow the instructions from respective airlines and authorities.
  • We would like to take this opportunity to remind passengers to arrive three hours before the departure time to accommodate the additional screening process that has been imposed for the new norm.
  • We would like to thank all our airport stakeholders, especially all related government agencies involved, as they have been very supportive and efficient in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • I would like to ask everyone to join hands in preventing COVID-19 from spreading further; stay vigilant and “STAY SAFE”.
  • Be prepared for the post-pandemic environment.

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