Local carriers suspend flights under MECQ

Published August 4, 2020, 3:58 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Local carriers – Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) and Air Asia,  on Tuesday  (August 4, 2020) canceled domestic flights to and from Manila for the next 14 days (August 4 to 18, 2020) after the government reverted to a more strict lockdown of the metropolis to curb the COVID 19 pandemic.

Airline ground staff (L) wearing protective gear work at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020. – More than 27 million people.

The state placed the NCR ( National Capital Region) under a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine or MECQ, suspending all public transportation, compelling the airlines to suspend their commercial passenger operations until transport authorities lift restrictions.

PAL cancelled all domestic flights to and from Manila (MNL) in the 14-day period. 

However, PAL’s domestic flights between Clark, Cebu, Davao and cities other than Manila were not affected and remained operational.

International flights to and from Manila shall continue to operate, subject to further guidelines from the authorities in line with quarantine capacity and related arrangements.  

Domestic passengers of these canceled flights have options to rebook, refund or convert their ticket into a travel voucher. 

For their part, Cebu Pacific (CEB) and Cebgo also cancelled all their domestic  flights to and from Metro Manila from August 4  to 18, 2020.

However, CEB will continue to operate its domestic flights from  Clark-Cebu-Clark, every Tuesday  and Cebu-Davao-Cebu, every Tuesday.

CEB also intends to operate its international flights: 5J 18 Manila-Dubai, every Sunday;

5J 19 Dubai-Manila, every Monday; 5J 194 Manila-Seoul (Incheon) every Thursday; 5J 5059 Tokyo (Narita)-Manila, every Wednesday / Saturday, starting Aug 8.

CEB will operate 5J 817 Osaka-Manila every Friday, starting Aug 6; 5J 807 Manila-Singapore, every Thursday / Saturday, starting Aug 6 and 5J 808 Singapore-Manila, every Friday/ Sunday, starting Aug 7.

Flights between Manila and Taipei, along with all other Cebu Pacific international flights, were cancelled during the 14-day period.

CEB will likewise continue to mount all-cargo flights to ensure transport of essential goods across the country. 

Furthermore, CEB will work with government at the national and local levels to assist stranded passengers. 

Passengers on cancelled CEB flights have several options.

They can avail of unlimited rebooking and rebook to any travel date within three months from original flight, with change (rebooking) fees and fare difference waived.  If travel is after three months.

Change fees are waived, but minimal fare difference may apply. 

They can also opt for a Two-year Travel Fund, placing the full cost of the ticket in a Travel Fund, or a virtual wallet with Cebu Pacific. Valid for two years.

The Travel Fund can be used to pay for flights up to a year out, or purchase add-ons (e.g. baggage allowance, seat selection, etc.) 

Thirdly, they can opt for a full refund. However, due to the unprecedented volume of requests for refunds, the process may take at least four billing cycles. 

On the other hand, AirAsia is updating its flight schedules until the end of August.

Selected flights are open for booking via the airasia.com website and our mobile app. 

Guests may use their credit accounts to redeem these flights. 

Additional routes and flight schedules will be on the AirAsia website and mobile app, subject to approval from the authorities.

The airline urged guests to check the latest travel restrictions and advice of respective local and national governments before travelling, as policies may change frequently. 

Meanwhile, with travel plans being fluid during the current pandemic, AirAsia offers enhanced flexibility options for guests to manage their flights. 

Those with existing flight bookings, departing from March 23 to August 31, 2020 which were cancelled by the airline, can now choose between a Credit Account with a 2-year validity period or unlimited flight changes until  October 31, 2020.

Refunds are also available to those whose flights were cancelled due to the recent MECQ decision of the government.

Flight bookings may be managed with AVA or  live chat agents via support.airasia.com

Guests can expect enhanced safety measures throughout the entire journey, including pre-flight, in-flight, and arrival processes. 

These include the mandatory wearing of face masks to be permitted to travel, amongst others. 

The airline advised guests to check and comply with measures implemented by local airport authorities

for a smooth travel experience.

AirAsia is closely monitoring the situation and reserves the right to announce further policies according to the latest developments.