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Stuck Cebu Pac passengers fly out after 24-hr wait

08 March 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The Manila-bound passengers decided to stick it out at the airport despite 3 flight cancellations

After several flight cancellations that left them stranded at Hong Kong Airport for more than 24 hours, about 100 Manila-bound passengers of a Cebu Pacific flight finally left at 9pm Monday night.

The airlift was carried out after Consul General Raly Tejada intervened, and asked the airline to fly the stranded passengers along with those who were originally booked for the Monday evening flight.

“It’s a mechanical failure. We have already fixed it,” Congen Tejada said in a text message. “They will send in a bigger aircraft, an A330 to bring everyone home including those who are taking the flight tonight.”


He also allayed concerns that the passengers’ negative test results for Covid-19 would no longer be valid, saying that since they had already checked in, “technically wala na sila sa Hong Kong.” (Technically they are no longer in Hong Kong).

Despite the ban on passenger flights from the Philippines imposed since Jan 8, Cebu Pacific has continued flying regularly to Manila. It is not known for canceling flights at the last minute, so what happened Sunday night came as a surprise to most of the passengers.

The wait at the airport lasted more than 24 hours

Filipino community leader Sherina Manimtim-Erno, whose aunt was among those stuck, brought the matter to the Consulate’s attention.

“There are around 100 people stranded at the airport, mostly helpless domestic workers,” said Erno, who said she had taken her aunt there for the original 8:20pm flight on Sunday.

She said all the passengers had already checked in when they were told that the flight had been delayed to 11:50pm.


So pumasok na ang tita ko sa departure area ng 9pm. Around 11:50pm chineck ko tita ko kung nakasakay na sa eroplano. Nag announce daw ulit na delayed ng 2:00am. Nasa gate na, ha, at may gate nang naka-assign.”

(So my aunt went into the departure area by 9pm. At 11:50pm I checked if my aunt had already boarded the plane. She said there was another announcement that the flight was delayed again to 2am. They were already at the gate then, a gate had already been assigned).

But by 1am, there was another announcement that the 2am flight was again being cancelled, with no reasons given. By that time Erno said her aunt did not want to leave the airport anymore, fearing things might just get worse.

Things just cleared up around noon Monday, when Congen Tejada said everything had been fixed.

But Erno could not help worrying still, not just for her aunt but for the mostly migrant workers who were affected by the flight cancellations. Not only did they not have much money with them,she said, they also had nowhere to go anymore if they left the airport.

She was relieved when at around 1pm Monday, the passengers reported that airline staff had  given them water and sandwich, as well as $300 each. They were again given meals at 7pm before their flight finally left.

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