PAL, CEB mount cargo-only flights


While local airlines have stopped regular commercial passenger flights because of restrictions in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, they continued to mount 'cargo-only' flights to transport essential goods, from food to medical products, supplies and equipment.

Mercifully, the government's Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) implementing the intensified community quarantine allowed the airlines to operate 'cargo-only' flights.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) mounted six cargo-only flights Wednesday this week (March 25, 2020), one round trip from Manila-Cebu-Manila and two round trips from Manila-Davao- Manila.

The flag carrier mounted four similar flights on Thursday (March 26), Manila-Cagayan- Manila and Manila-Iloilo-Manila.

These are the most recent but many cargo-only flights of this type have been mounted much earlier, according to the airline.

"Our PAL Cargo Team has been receiving numerous re¬quests for the transport of highly essential goods, mostly medical supplies. We expect this demand to continue and we are committed to serve your essential cargo needs," PAL stated.

For its part, Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) this Wednesday added more cargo flights from General Santos (GenSan), South Cotabato, and neighboring cities to transport food, including tuna, to Manila.

CEB deployed its Airbus A320 aircraft for three more cargo flights to Manila weekly to augment the five regular cargo flights per week every Tuesday to Saturday using its ATR 72 freighters.

Each of CEB's additional cargo-only flight, scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, is capable of carrying 9 tons or 9,000 kilos of cargo, almost equal the capacity of its ATR 72 aircraft.

CEB's first Airbus A320 cargo flight left GenSan's international airport around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday this week while the regular ATR flight departed at 4:30 p.m.

They carried asparagus, as¬sorted vegetables, fruits, prawns, fish and other seafood products.
Before, CEB and PAL carried the same products to Manila using seven of their daily outbound passenger flights.

However, CEB's new cargo flights are temporary inasmuch as CEB uses its Airbus A320 aircraft for passenger operations.

On the other hand, AirAsia is consolidating requests for cargo, as well as mercy flights - mostly medical donations, as of press time.

While it is AirAsia Malaysia that has more cargo operations at the moment, Philippines AirAsia will soon follow.