Local airline launches sweeper flights

Published July 22, 2020, 2:45 PM

by Vianca Gamboa

SkyJet Airlines collaborates with government offices to mount charity rescue flights for stranded individuals.

Capt. John Jatico and his crew at Davao International Airport

Travel restrictions worldwide generate economic problems or unemployment on a larger scale, all being taken care of as we speak, but in micro cases we see the inconvenience among local and foreign nationals stranded indeterminately. 

Can you imagine the risk of contracting Covid-19 in an unfamiliar place? The anxiety of being away from your family? Five months into quarantine and it’s sad to say there are still many locally stranded individuals (LSIs), mostly displaced workers in Metro Manila.

General Santos City

We need more than ever establishments that are aware of their purpose during the crisis, including domestic airlines shifting responsibilities to provide sweeper flights in efforts to help LSIs. Despite losing big revenues and subsidizing costly operations, one of the few to join the cause is premier boutique airline SkyJet, under the supervision of its chairman, Wilson Tieng. The airline has been working closely with the Office of the President, 250th Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW), OSAP, PMS, and Sen. Bong Go in mounting charity rescue flights for LSIs affected by the nationwide community quarantine. 

LSI passengers returning to Iloilo

Just recently, SkyJet has deployed a 92-seater BAE 146-200 aircraft helmed by the chief pilot Capt. John Jatico and his crew—with Davao, General Santos, and Iloilo City as the main inbound destinations. The first rescue flight to Davao successfully departed on July 18, followed by another roundtrip flight to General Santos and Iloilo on July 19 and July 20, respectively. 

SkyJet charity rescue flight crew at General Santos International Airport

Although SkyJet is looking to resume commercial operations in the next few months, the airline directs its full attention to corporate social responsibility advocacies meant to serve Filipinos and help the government in terms of aircraft provisions under circumstances that concern cross-province and inter-island travel. “While commercial passenger flights are currently halted due to the ongoing travel restrictions, we are steadfast in our commitment of to helping connect our stranded countrymen,” SkyJet Airlines’ commercial head Joseph Edward Alvarico says. He also acknowledged the assistance of Philippine Air Force, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Department of Health, DSWD, PMS RFUs 6, 11, and 12, and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for making the operations possible.