PAL cancels flight to Tokyo amid MCIA ban on int’l arrivals

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021   •   241

MANILA, Philippines – Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced the cancellation of its flight to Tokyo after the Cebu government ordered the closure of Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to arriving international flights of all airlines for two days, May 14 and 15, 2021.

In an advisory, PAL said it has canceled the following flight that was originally scheduled to land in Cebu during this period:

  • PR 433 – Tokyo (Narita) – Cebu on May 14

“We sincerely regret that we have no choice but to cancel this flight, despite our passengers having already pre-booked and confirmed their hotel rooms for the mandatory quarantine stays in Cebu,” PAL said.

“We will reach out to notify affected passengers directly by email or based on other contact information provided,” it added.

The airline company also assured it would continue to coordinate closely with government authorities to help passengers, including cooperation in resolving quarantine and testing issues as necessary.

PAL advised affected passengers of these cancelled flights to do the following steps:

  • Convert your ticket to a Travel Voucher;
  • Avail of unlimited rebooking (no rebooking fee) until December 31, 2021. If you will be completing your travel in the same booking class by June 30, 2021 (or ticket validity, whichever comes first), there will be no fare difference charge;
  • Refund your ticket without penalties.

Passengers may request any if these options via myPAL Request Hub.

“Again, our sincere apologies for the inconvenience. Thank you,” PAL said.

PAL cancels flights between Dubai and Manila until June 30

Marje Pelayo   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Following the extension of the Philippines’ travel ban on arrivals from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) until June 30, the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines cancelled a number of flights bound for Dubai.

The cancelled flights include those scheduled on June 16, 23 and 30 with flight numbers PR658 and PR659 Manila-Dubai-Manila.

Meanwhile, PAL flights to and from Qatar (Doha) and Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Dammam) are continuing, and the firm intends to operate all of these flights to cater to the travel needs of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“We remind our passengers that PAL is occasionally compelled to cancel certain flights from time to time to comply with capacity limitations at Manila airport,” the airline explained in an advisory.

“When a temporary shortage develops in the allocation of hotel rooms for OFWs in Metro Manila and environs, we may be forced to cancel at the last moment,” it further said.

PAL explained an incident that happened on June 6 when the airline had to fly an empty aircraft from Riyadh to Manila because it was not allowed by the government to board the passengers who had been waiting to take the flight home.

For the period June 1 to June 15, the airline has recorded a total of 12 force majeure affecting its routes to Dammam, Doha and Riyadh.

These cancellations were due to the shortage of quarantine accommodations and other limitations, as advised by the Philippine government, the airline said.

Overall during the said period, the cancellations affected an estimated 10,000 passengers.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience to our passengers, and seek their kind understanding that this is a situation beyond our control,” the airline stressed.

As an alternative, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and PAL have been coordinating to arrange special repatriation flights to ferry stranded passengers from the Middle East, including a repatriation flight last June 14 from Dubai and more that we hope to set up next week.

All affected passengers may opt to avail of the following options:

1. Convert your ticket to a Travel Voucher;

2. Avail of unlimited rebooking (no rebooking fee) until December 31, 2021. If you will be completing your travel in the same booking class by June 30, 2021 (or ticket validity, whichever comes first), there will be no fare difference charge;

3. Refund your ticket without penalties.

Any request may be coursed through the MyPAL Request Hub.

Duterte orders Cebu to follow IATF’s COVID-19 testing, quarantine protocols for returning Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on the diversion of Cebu-bound flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) lapsed on June 12.

“From the Office of the Executive Secretary, the President has decided that the IATF protocols must be implemented by the Cebu province,” Roque said during his regular online briefing.

“The President has also considered the DOH critique and has decided that Cebu province must abide by IATF arrival protocols,” he added.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to undergo quarantine in a government-accredited facility for 10 days and take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“The last extension was just a preparation for full implementation of that decision,” Roque said, pertaining to Medialdea’s order to extend the diversion of flights bound for Cebu to NAIA, which was in effect from June 5 to 12.

Roque, however, leaves to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) the decision on what measure to take should Cebu continue to defy the national government’s protocol.

Duterte earlier met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss quarantine protocols.

Palace extends diversion of Cebu-bound int’l flights to NAIA until June 12

Robie de Guzman   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The diversion to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) of international flights bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will be extended to June 12, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has issued a memo extending the flight diversion “until 23:59 hours of June 12.”

 Roque said this is to provide ample time for authorities to thresh out Cebu Province’s COVID-19 protocols for returning Filipinos, which differs from the directives issued by the national government.

International flights for MCIA were initially redirected to NAIA from May 29 to June 5.

“Ito po’y para maayos yung pag-implement ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) arrival protocol sa Cebu,” Roque said in a media briefing.

The Cebu government requires passengers to undergo a test upon arrival at the airport while the IATF requires screening of passengers on the 7th day of their quarantine.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss this difference.

Roque expects the Cebu government to comply with the specific protocols mandated by the IATF after the flight diversion period ends.

“Upon resumption of flights to Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the travel and testing protocols approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases will be fully and seamlessly implemented,” Roque said, reading from the memo.

“Inaasahan po natin that on the 13th of June, the IATF protocols on arriving OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and OFs (overseas Filipinos) will be implemented in Cebu. Yan po ay according to the memorandum issued by the executive secretary dated 5 of June 2021,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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