Gov’t, private sectors unite to bring over 10,000 foreign tourists to NAIA, Clark Int’l Airport

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020   •   430

Passengers rush to catch last plane out amid lockdown in the Philippines (19 March 2020)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with several government agencies and various domestic airlines, have joined forces to ferry more than 10,000 foreign tourists from different parts of the country to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

This measure is aimed at assisting these foreign tourists who were stranded in the country due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to be able to go back to their respective countries.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this will help lessen the stranded tourists in the various islands in the country.

“The Department of Tourism has been doing everything within its resources to ease the congestion in the different regions by facilitating the movement of foreign tourists stranded in the different islands of the country,” Puyat said in a statement.

Over the weekend, 7,915 tourists were brought to the two airports through the sweeper flights of different domestic airlines, such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Air Swift, as well as chartered flights.

DOT regional offices also assisted the stranded tourists in Luzon via land transport.

The Philippine Coast Guard, on the other hand, helped ferry those in Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, and Cebu through inter-island vessels.

Shuttle services and hotel accommodations were arranged for several stranded tourists who were also given free foods and hygienic items while waiting for their flights at the NAIA.

Other sweeper flights were also used for those in Iloilo, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.

Three more sweeper flights are also being prepared for the others in Davao and Puerto Princesa to be transported on Thursday (March 26).

Two sweeper flights are also scheduled for tourists on Boracay island for transportation on Thursday, and four more over the weekend. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

PAL announces plans to partially resume flights in May

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Airlines announced on Tuesday (April 7) its plans of partial resumption of selected international and domestic flights in the coming weeks.

The country’s flag carrier clarified, however, that the plans may change depending on how the situation develops in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak which includes the duration of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), travel bans and restrictions imposed by other countries and the overall public health and safety situation in each of the cities and countries that PAL operates in.

PAL also said it will not operate international flights from April 15 to 30 although it is considering making ad hoc special flights for stranded passengers and essential cargoes across the country and within the Asia-Pacific region.

READ: PAL mounts special flights from Manila to London for British nationals

Meanwhile, PAL said it is setting plans to resume a number of weekly flights for the month of May to several destinations including Japan, the USA, Canada, Guam, Australia, the U.K., Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau, Saudi Arabia, and Korea.

Once the details are finalized, the company assured to publish a list of flights in an updated advisory.

On the other hand, PAL maintained that all flights to the following destinations remain canceled for the month of May: Auckland, New York JFK, Dubai, Doha, Perth, Melbourne, Port Moresby, and Sapporo.

As for domestic flights, operations from April 15 to May 31 will depend on the changes with community quarantine restrictions imposed against domestic air travel, PAL said.

We will await the final government decisions, and will announce the list of domestic flights to be operated once finalized,” the airline company said.

“However, in any case, we shall not be operating any flights to and from Clark International Airport for the month of April,” it added.

For guidelines and special reminders, affected passengers are advised to check on PAL official website at www.philippineairlines.com.

PAL mounts special flights from Manila to London for British nationals

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 7, 2020

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) has mounted two special flights from Manila to London for British nationals amid temporary halt of operations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the said flights were organized by the British Embassy Manila for United Kingdom (UK) residents who wish to return home.

The flights are scheduled on Tuesday (April 7) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

“Despite the ongoing pause in operations until April 14, PAL is operating these special one-off services to assist in flying stranded travelers home,” MIAA said in a statement. AAC

Young doctor among 8 fatalities in medical evacuation plane crash at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   March 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A medical evacuation plane burst into flames shortly while taking off at Runway 24 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday evening (March 29).

The flight carrying eight passengers, including an American and a Canadian national, was bound for Haneda in Japan.

“Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement.

MIAA said the runway has been temporarily closed while the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines carries out an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Reports said the flight was carrying a Canadian patient and a companion; a doctor and a nurse.

The Manila Public Information Office citing PLM President Noel Leyco revealed the identity of the doctor who perished in the accident.

In her Facebook post, Nicko’s sister, singer-songwriter Ria Bautista, confirmed that her younger brother, Cenover Nicandro “Nicko” Baustista was among the eight crash victims.

“I lost my brother on that flight. No words can describe how devastating it is to lose a family member in such a horrific way. How do you process something like this,” she said.

She posted her brother’s last post prior to the tragedy and hailed the efforts of his brother and all of the front liners in the battle against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“He fought like a hero and I can only hope that his fight would not be in vain,” she concluded.

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