PAL uses new gateways to skirt limits for returning OFWs

Published July 22, 2021, 4:53 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Philippine Airlines (PAL) now flies to alternate gateways, like Subic, Laoag and Davao, to bring home more Overseas Filipino Workers ( OFWs) and skirt imposed limits on arrivals at the Manila airport.

The government continues to limit arrivals at Manila to 2,000 passengers per day, shared among multiple airlines.

This forces airlines to cancel many Manila-bound flights and strands countless Filipinos overseas.

PAL has been working with the government to establish other airports as landing gateways for regular commercial flights as well as for special repatriation flights, in cooperation with LGUs and local airport authorities, and with identified quarantine protocols and accommodations.

Arrival at Subic Bay International Airport on July 7, 2021.

The PAL flights that landed in alternative gateways this July include:

– July 7 – PR5683 from Dammam to Subic, which flew in 297 Overseas Filipino Workers mainly from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

– July 15 – PR8787 from Dhaka to Davao, a repatriation flight which carried 137 Filipino seafarers and family members based in Bangladesh

– July 10 – PR526 from Kuala Lumpur to Laoag, which ferried 119 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from the Malaysian capital.

– July 17 – PR8659 from Dubai to Davao, another repatriation mission carrying 359 OFWs from the United Arab Emirates

PAL has announced that its PR 685 regular flight from Doha, Qatar on July 22 will also land in Subic Bay instead of Manila, as originally planned.

PAL coordinated with all concerned agencies to meet all flight and arrival quarantine requirements.

“Our overseas Filipinos have urgent reasons to fly home and we are grateful that Subic, Davao and Laoag welcomed our flights and supported the needs of these travelers,” remarked Dexter Lee, PAL SVP/Chief Strategy & Planning Officer.

“When flying more people home is not possible at the main gateway because of travel restrictions or limitations, PAL partners with government and airport authorities to use alternate gateways,” he reiterated.

“Our onboard guests can be assured that safety and health protocols are in place on each and every flight. Cabin air is refreshed constantly and cleaned effectively by HEPA filters on all our aircraft,” the SVP added.

Passengers are currently undergoing a 10-day mandatory hotel quarantine in the cities where their flights landed. RTPCR tests are made on the 7th day of hotel quarantine.

OFWs who complete hotel quarantine in Laoag and Subic will be transported to Manila via OWWA-arranged land transfers.

Non-residents of Davao who complete hotel quarantine in Davao will be flown to Manila on a PAL domestic flight.