By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The Davao International Airport (DIA) is preparing for the resumption of commercial flights next month as the national government allows air travel between areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ), Mayor Sara Duterte said.
In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (87.5), Duterte said the local government was already preparing a system for the possible influx of inbound and outbound passengers.
She said the City Health Office was directed to prepare a 24-hour rotational team at the airport which will undertake the health screening of passengers.
“We have prepared for the resumption of the commercial flights. We are slowly building our system there at the Davao International Airport because we need to screen those who will enter and screen as well those who are leaving because no COVID-19 positive individual should board the flight,” she said.
She said those who will manifest the symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board their flight to prevent transmission of the infection to other passengers.
She highlighted the importance of health screening to detect infected passengers “because otherwise, those who come in close contact with him on the airplane will be put on quarantine, including the entire crew of the airline.”
There is also the risk of transmitting the infection to other areas if there is no screening, she added.
She said airport authorities were expecting 2,000 outbound travelers daily, given the limitations on the number of flights and social distancing.
She said they were waiting for further guidelines from the national government on the resumption of flights.
In a statement, the Philippine Airlines said it welcomed the opportunity to resume regular commercial operations following the decision to ease the quarantine measures in certain areas of the country, including the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), to general community quarantine (GCQ) status starting June 1.
“PAL is closely coordinating with local and national government authorities on the necessary implementing rules and arrangements to finalize our routes and flight schedules. As soon as these are finalized, we shall inform the public of the flights and routes we shall operate,” it added.
Last March, Duterte ordered the suspension of at least 21 domestic flights and four international flights flying out of the Davao International Airport effective immediately to contain the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).