NAIA passenger volume drops by 60% after travel ban

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 13, 2020   •   752

The passenger volume at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has dropped by 60% after implementation of the travel ban due to COVID-19 threat.

On Thursday (February 13), almost 50 round trip flights in areas covered by the travel ban were cancelled.

Due to this, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Eddie Monreal asked local airline carriers to “prime up” their domestic flights.

“Marami tayong (We have a lot of) reduction in terms of frequency. We are asked to meet the local carriers to prime up the domestic tourism. Iyong extrang eroplano nila gamitin sa tourism (Their extra airplanes should be used for tourism),” he said.

Monreal said the local airlines will look into the said recommendation. He also said that increasing the frequency of domestic flights might help boost Philippine tourism amid the COVID-19 threat.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), they might implement the additional domestic flights by next week. The CAB is currently waiting for the formal request of local airline carriers.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Brazilians scramble to board last U.S. flights ahead of travel ban

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

Brazilians scrambled Monday (May 25) to make last-minute arrangements to get to the United States ahead of new restrictions on travel from Brazil.

A handful of passengers were seen at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport preparing to board a United Flight to Houston Monday after the U.S. government brought the restrictions forward by two days as the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in the South American nation surpassed the U.S. daily toll.

A White House statement amended the timing of the start of the restrictions to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 26 (0359 GMT on Wednesday, May 27) instead of May 28 as in the original announcement on Sunday (May 24).

Two days earlier, Brazil overtook Russia as the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States. Washington’s ban applies to foreigners traveling to the United States if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks.

Brazil’s coronavirus deaths reported in the last 24 hours were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time on Monday, according to the health ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths and 620 died in the United States.

Brazil has 374,898 cases, behind the U.S. with 1.637 million. Total deaths in the U.S. has reached 97,988, according to Reuters tally, compared with Brazil at 23,473.

The travel ban was a blow to right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has followed the example of U.S. President Donald Trump in addressing the pandemic, fighting calls for social distancing and touting unproven drugs. (Reuters)

(Production: Leonardo Benassatto)

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.)

Young doctor among 8 fatalities in medical evacuation plane crash at NAIA

Marje Pelayo   •   March 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A medical evacuation plane burst into flames shortly while taking off at Runway 24 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday evening (March 29).

The flight carrying eight passengers, including an American and a Canadian national, was bound for Haneda in Japan.

“Unfortunately, no passenger survived the accident,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement.

MIAA said the runway has been temporarily closed while the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines carries out an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Reports said the flight was carrying a Canadian patient and a companion; a doctor and a nurse.

The Manila Public Information Office citing PLM President Noel Leyco revealed the identity of the doctor who perished in the accident.

In her Facebook post, Nicko’s sister, singer-songwriter Ria Bautista, confirmed that her younger brother, Cenover Nicandro “Nicko” Baustista was among the eight crash victims.

“I lost my brother on that flight. No words can describe how devastating it is to lose a family member in such a horrific way. How do you process something like this,” she said.

She posted her brother’s last post prior to the tragedy and hailed the efforts of his brother and all of the front liners in the battle against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“He fought like a hero and I can only hope that his fight would not be in vain,” she concluded.

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