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NAIA now allows flights to depart Manila, but still no inbound

04 May 2020

By The SUN

Philippine airport authorities now say international flights can fly out of NAIA

After a day of confusion, the Manila International Airport Authority has announced that it is allowing international passenger flights to depart from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but it remains off-limits to arriving aircraft.

The original advisory from MIAA posted near midnight on May 2 said all flights in and out of NAIA and all international airports in the Philippines would be stopped for one week starting at 8am the next day.

A subsequent report said this was meant to decongest quarantine facilities holding some 20,000 newly-arrived overseas Filipino workers, many of whom had lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
But yesterday afternoon, the Department of Transportation announced that the airport would be closed only to inbound flights, meaning those scheduled to fly out of Manila would be allowed to leave.

The flip-flops caused many passengers to complain on the MIAA Facebook page about the confusing information.

One said, “You cancelled out outbound flight yesterday. Now there is an outbound flight again? Where is the announcement you posted on May 2? There are a lot of inconsistencies. Many are coming from different provinces.”
Another advised the airport authorities to inform Qatar Airways about the new arrangement because the airline thought all flights to and from Manila were still not allowed.

“The abrupt announcement yesterday provided more harm than good. Each memo should be properly communicated to all for it to make sense. May you provide also better customer service to your people,” said the irate passenger.

All other passengers who asked if their scheduled outbound flights would go ahead as scheduled were simply advised to contact their airline.

This prompted many to say that it was useless relying on the airport Facebook page as it left many more confused than before.
Cathay will only have sweeper flights from Manila for the next few days

Flights going to Hong Kong are also in limbo. A source from Cathay Pacific Airways said only sweeper flights, or those that carry passengers who had booked earlier but were unable to leave, would be leaving Manila for the next few days.

Hong Kong Airlines, the only other airline that continued to fly daily between Manila and Hong Kong since the Philippines imposed a travel ban on Feb 2, has finally decided to quit its flights between the two cities as well.

Its website does not list any flights to and from Manila, and advises the public to check the travel restrictions in the place they intend to visit.

This new uncertainty is giving one OFW who had booked a flight back to Hong Kong on May 8 an additional headache, as she has already started the process of booking a hotel where she could spend her 14-day quarantine on her arrival in the city.

Going to the Philippines earlier, she already had to undergo two weeks of home quarantine, which ate up much of her vacation leave.

But she was among the lucky ones, as all arriving OFWs in Manila are now taken to quarantine centers for 14 days before being allowed to proceed to their homes.

The National Task Force against Covid-19 said in a statement that this was because most of the OFWs had arrived from countries with significant Covid-19 outbreak.

Yesterday morning, news reports showed a deserted NAIA, but one broadcaster said a flight for Bahrain scheduled at 2pm was allowed to leave.

Today, the NAIA-MIAA Facebook page showed a list of four outbound flights that were scheduled to leave within the day: Qatar Airways bound for Doha, Singapore Airlines bound for Singapore, All Nippon Airways bound for Haneda Airport in Tokyo, and Korean Air bound for Incheon.

The list came with a warning that “these flight schedules may change at any given time. In such cases, please contact your airline for confirmation.”

Separately, Asiana Airlines posted an advisory saying that all its outbound flights Manila to Incheon, South Korea, will go ahead as scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Again, all passengers who asked about their flight status via other airlines were told to contact their carrier directly.


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