Gov’t, private sectors unite to bring over 10,000 foreign tourists to NAIA, Clark Int’l Airport

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020   •   686

Passengers rush to catch last plane out amid lockdown in the Philippines (19 March 2020)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with several government agencies and various domestic airlines, have joined forces to ferry more than 10,000 foreign tourists from different parts of the country to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

This measure is aimed at assisting these foreign tourists who were stranded in the country due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to be able to go back to their respective countries.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this will help lessen the stranded tourists in the various islands in the country.

“The Department of Tourism has been doing everything within its resources to ease the congestion in the different regions by facilitating the movement of foreign tourists stranded in the different islands of the country,” Puyat said in a statement.

Over the weekend, 7,915 tourists were brought to the two airports through the sweeper flights of different domestic airlines, such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Air Swift, as well as chartered flights.

DOT regional offices also assisted the stranded tourists in Luzon via land transport.

The Philippine Coast Guard, on the other hand, helped ferry those in Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, and Cebu through inter-island vessels.

Shuttle services and hotel accommodations were arranged for several stranded tourists who were also given free foods and hygienic items while waiting for their flights at the NAIA.

Other sweeper flights were also used for those in Iloilo, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.

Three more sweeper flights are also being prepared for the others in Davao and Puerto Princesa to be transported on Thursday (March 26).

Two sweeper flights are also scheduled for tourists on Boracay island for transportation on Thursday, and four more over the weekend. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

DOT mandates maximum of double occupancy for hotels under ‘new normal’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 21, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has mandated hotels and other tourism-related accommodations to only have a maximum of double occupancy as part of the ‘new normal’.

According to DOT Usec. Arturo Boncato, they will limit the occupancy or capacity of hotel accommodations up to two persons per room. This also includes limiting the number of customers in restaurants.

“DOT will be mandating a maximum of double occupancy for all of the hotels. And for restaurants starting with 50% occupancy in terms of operations for in-dining,” he said.

The Tourism Department said they will release the set of policies to be implemented once the operation of tourism-related establishments resume under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Other safety measures include regular sanitation and disinfection, supply of sanitation/disinfecting provisions for workers; regular inspection of health and safety standards being implemented. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

NAIA reopens for int’l chartered, commercial flights with homebound Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has opened for inbound international chartered and commercial flights on Monday (May 11).

The resumption of operations, however, is only limited to overseas Filipinos who are returning home to the Philippines, clarified the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

CAAP added that foreign tourists and non-residents remain restricted from entering the country except for diplomats and heads or members of international missions. 

“Itong in-issue ng Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines na Notice to Airmen is only starting today hanggang June 10 but it doesn’t mean na hanggang June 10 ito (The CAAP-issued Notice to Airmen is only starting today until June 10, but it doesn’t mean it’s only up to June 10),” noted CAAP Spokesperson Eric Apolonio.

“Depende ito sa sitwasyon. Kung mag-i-improve naman, baka mag-relax iyong restrictions ng arrivals ng international flights sa airport (It will depend on the situation. If it improves, we may relax restrictions on international flight arrivals in the airport),” he added.

Inbound international chartered flights will only be allowed to land at NAIA on Mondays and Thursdays provided that they secure a clearance from CAAP and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

International commercial flights, meanwhile, are allowed during Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Such scheduling of flights is needed as NAIA, for now, can only accommodate 400 passengers a day so as to maintain strict physical distancing protocols and to comply with the rules imposed by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 in the conduct of COVID-19 testing and other procedures on all arriving passengers in NAIA.

Commercial flights, however, must get the approval of CAAP within 48 hours prior to its take off from point of origin. 

If the flight is coming from countries with high incidence of COVID-19 infection, the permission to allow them to proceed will depend on the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) as the overall in charge of the national government’s response on the global pandemic. 

CAAP reiterates that social distancing protocols will always be observed in every flight. MNP (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Cebu Pacific, PAL to implement new protocols under ‘new normal’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 6, 2020

Cebu Pacific and the Philippine Airlines (PAL) will implement new protocols in preparation for the resumption of operations.

Commercial flight operations will remain suspended until May 15 due to the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Vice President for Marketing and Customer Experience at Cebu Pacific Candice Iyog announced they will intensify their sanitary protocols through “contactless flights”.

“We are implementing additional procedures to assure our passengers and give them the confidence to travel again. Rolling out ‘contactless flights’ will minimize face-to-face contact between our ground staff and our passengers and observe physical distancing,” she said in a statement.

Cebu Pacific encourages its passengers to check in online and will be required to wear face masks upon entry at the airport terminal and for the duration of the flight.

All pilots, cabin crews, ground employees will also wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while on duty. Pilots and cabin crew will undergo  rapid antibody tests before they are assigned to operate flights.

Meanwhile, PAL will also require face masks for all visitors as well as its passengers. Thermal scans will be conducted at ticket offices and online check-in is encouraged. AAC

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