PAL cancels flights between Dubai and Manila until June 30

Marje Pelayo   •   June 17, 2021   •   511

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.

No layoffs amid filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — PAL

Marje Pelayo   •   September 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) assured its employees that no one will be affected by the company’s filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on Saturday (September 4).

PAL said the current COVID-19 pandemic has been a big blow to the company’s operations.

At present, PAL’s clients have been reduced to 7 million last year compared with 30 million passengers in 2019 before the pandemic and only 21% of its operations are active.

“The reality of the pandemic is still on us, and the only caveat to my statement that we will no longer have additional job cuts is we hope the pandemic does not become worst and that we can actually recover,” said Gilbert Santa Maria, president and CEO of PAL.

PAL said the government’s repatriation program and deliveries of COVID-9 vaccine somehow helped maintain its fleet running.

PAL was able to refund about $4 million from the government as aerodrome fees.

For its part, Malacañang said the government assured assistance to the flag carrier amid its ordeal.

“So na-confirm ko na po na marami na pong mga charges ang winaive ng gobyerno at kasama na po dito iyong mga landing fees at saka iyong mga aerodrome fees,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

PAL said once the US court decides on their application for Chapter 11, the company will immediately file its rehabilitation plan here in the Philippines under Republic Act 10142 or the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act (FRIA) of 2010.

PAL also assures it will continue its services and clients may still refund their tickets if they wish to. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

‘Business as usual’ as PAL undergoes financial restructuring

Maris Federez   •   September 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, assures that it will continue to fly and to serve its customers as the company undergoes financial restructuring.

“We will continue to fly and to serve our customers throughout this process:  it is business as usual for us,” PAL said in a statement released on Sunday (Sept. 5).

“PAL continues to increase domestic and international flights as travel demand recovers with the easing of travel restrictions, and we will roll out new products and services that help make flying safer and more convenient,” the statement added.

PAL further assures that its highest priority is the safety and health of its passengers, its employees, and the communities it serves.

“Nothing about that will change as we undergo restructuring,” it said.

On September 3, Philippine Airlines announced the voluntary decision to undergo financial restructuring under the U.S. Chapter 11 process.

Chapter 11 is a globally recognized U.S. legal process that many airlines have used to reinvent themselves into more successful companies.

“This step is part of a set of major agreements PAL has reached with substantially all of our stakeholders, and with one objective:  to build a stronger Philippine Airlines so that we can serve our customers better and continue our mission as a full-service airline and flag carrier of the Philippines,” the airline company said.

The restructuring will enable PAL to emerge with fresh capital, lower debt, and a sturdier financial foundation for the future.

PAL also expressed its gratitude to the public for its support for the company’s recovery and revival.

“After 80 years of flying the Philippine flag, we recognize that our nation will look up to PAL to sustain the links and connections that unite our island country and bring life to our communities and economy,” it said.

“We pledge to work harder to earn your continuing support, to deliver buong pusong alaga (whole-hearted care) and provide a beacon of hope to Filipinos and travelers from all over the world,” it further stated.

Hong Kong imposes two-week ban on PAL flights

Marje Pelayo   •   August 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Hong Kong government has imposed a temporary ban on flights from Philippine Airlines (PAL) until September 11 after three of its passengers tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival to the territory.

PAL confirmed the suspension in a statement adding that passenger flights from Hong Kong to Manila will remain operational during the said period.

“Philippine Airlines passenger flights from Hong Kong to Manila continue to operate every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to our planned schedules. In the other direction, while PAL will not be able to carry passengers from Manila to Hong Kong up to Sept. 11 to comply with the restriction, we will continue to operate all-cargo flights into Hong Kong,” the airline said.

PAL stressed that it is consistently complying with industry protocols both in the Philippines and abroad as it considers the health and safety of passengers its top priority.

“Please note that all our three passengers (2 Filipinos and 1 Chinese national) presented negative Covid-19 test results when they checked in for their PR300 flights,” it said.

On Sunday (August 29), the Hong Kong government reported the detection of COVID-19 positive travelers from PAL flight PR300 during the arrival testing which prompted the two-week ban on PAL flights.

“Separately, as two passenger flights arrived in Hong Kong on August 27, namely PR300 operated by Philippine Airlines arriving from Manila, the Philippines to Hong Kong, and TK083 operated by Turkish Airlines arriving from Istanbul, Turkey to Hong Kong, each had three passengers confirmed to have COVID-19 by arrival testing,” Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said in a press release.

“[This] invoked the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to prohibit the landing of passenger flights from Manila and Istanbul respectively operated by the above airlines in Hong Kong from August 29 to September 11,” it added.

PAL said all passengers affected by the ban may rebook, refund or convert their tickets into a travel voucher with rebooking and refund service fees waived.

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