News and Updates
Recovery flights, tourism transport to continue for stranded passengers
Both international and domestic tourists, whose flights were affected by the community quarantine impositions across the country, are being assisted by the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT), local government unit (LGU) officers, local airport staff and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in terms of recovery flights, transportation, meals and accommodation.
With the current domestic travel restrictions in place in the NCR as of March 15, 2020, flights to Manila have been redirected to either Clark or Cebu (for outgoing international flights only). The DOT lauds the efforts of Air Asia, AirSwift, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines for mounting recovery flights to immediately address the situation of stranded passengers.
In Palawan, covering Coron, El Nido and Puerto Princessa, around 2,000 passengers were assisted in rerouting their outgoing flights to Cebu and Clark. Accommodation and meals were offered to stranded passengers in the airports.
Several C-130 military planes from the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) are on stand-by to assist stranded passengers in case airlines are not able to provide recovery flights on time.
In Tuguegarao, the Philippine Airforce C-130 cargo plane carried the stranded delegates of Zamboanga Schools Division who attended the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) to Clark for transport to Manila.
In Davao City, Cebu Pacific mounted a recovery flight, while following safety protocols set by the Davao LGU, to transport the stranded passengers to Clark, where the residents can travel back to Manila by land.
With Clark as the main gateway for domestic flights from other regions for the transit of passengers to Manila, it can be expected that the city will need more than the usual available transport.
The DOT commends the Genesis Transport Service Inc. for deploying an additional 16 P2P buses from the 24 buses that are regularly stationed in Clark to address the influx of arriving passengers, especially those coming from Palawan. The buses can shepherd the passengers to Ortigas, and NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
Aside from the 40 units P2P buses, 3 double-decker (50-seater) and 6 high decker (49-seater) buses are on standby now in Clark and Bulacan. At least 10 DOT accredited Travel Agents in Pampanga are now on standby to provide full assistance to tourists in arranging their return flights.
STRANDED NO MORE
“The DOT and tourism stakeholders, together with the DND, DILG, DOTr, and other agencies of the Interagency Task Force, will not allow any tourists to be stranded here in the Philippines. We have mounted recovery flights with our airlines and the military to bring our tourists home safely. Our regional offices have been in close coordination with the LGUs to facilitate the transit of passengers to their respective international and domestic gateways,” remarked Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
To date, the combined efforts of the public and private sector have assisted around 2,500 passengers in terms of recovery flights and transport, since the community quarantine took effect on March 15.
The tourism industry, together with the inter-agency task force and the LGUs, will continue to mount recovery flights, increase the capacity for transportation to international and local gateways, and deploy more personnel in the airports to better assist the needs of waiting tourists.
Published:February 22, 2021