MANILA, Philippines, March 16 ------ Local airlines have cancelled additional domestic flights that operate outside Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in compliance with the travel restrictions imposed by several local government units (LGUs). Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it is compelled to cancel some additional flights, in view of the community quarantine initiatives being carried out by several LGUs, to and from Cebu, Clark, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro, Legazpi, Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi.
Cebu Pacific and Cebgo are also cancelling select domestic flights, which include the Clark-Cebu, Cagayan-Cebu and Dumaguete-Cebu routes, from March 15 to April 13. They said the suspension is in line with directives from the provincial government of Cebu prohibiting the entry of passengers into the province via air from Clark, Legazpi, Dumaguete and Cagayan de Oro. Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines said domestic flights to and from the Mactan Cebu International Airport and Kalibo International Airport, as well as some domestic and international flights to and from the Clark International Airport have been cancelled following directives of respective LGUs.
PAL, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia have earlier announced cancellation of their domestic flights in and out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in compliance with the government’s directive imposing travel restrictions due to the current public health situation. Cebu Pacific is cancelling over 250 domestic flights in and out of NAIA daily, while AirAsia and PAL respectively have 102 and 66 domestic flights daily to and from the country’s main gateway. All domestic flights to and from NAIA have been ordered to stop operations, except for cargo, air ambulance, government, military, weather mitigation and maintenance and utility flights, in line with the month-long community quarantine of Metro Manila to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Except for security personnel and attendants who were cleaning and disinfecting airport facilities, the airport’s Terminal 1 and 2 looked like an abandoned place. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said thousands of passengers heading to Manila were left stranded at the country’s provincial airports. It activated the Malasakit help desks to address the concerns of stranded passengers and provide some food and drinks.
Various LGUs have also released advisories on the suspension of inbound and outbound domestic air travel, including Bohol province, Puerto Princesa City and Batanes province, which has barred the entry of non-residents and non-workers until April 16. The province of Cebu has also issued an order prohibiting the entry of domestic air travel from Clark International Airport, Legazpi City, Cagayan de Oro and Dumaguete City until April 14.