Published on : Monday, June 1, 2020
In light of the ease of COVID-19 related travel restrictions in the Philippines, last week, Philippine Airlines announced that it is planning to resume flight operations from June 1. The airlines have mentioned that it will initially operate a limited number of international and domestic routes as travel restrictions continue to stay in place across several regions in the country.
According to the initial announcement, the airline planned to operate 21 international and 24 domestic routes. The carrier recently took to social media that it is also planning to operate sweeper flights to the UK, Singapore, and Australia in order to rescue passengers who are still stranded abroad. As of now the airline will operate limited international services on select routes to the USA, Canada, Guam, Vietnam, mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Japan, the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Important domestic flight operations will begin from June 8.
The airlines suspended flight operations after the Philippines established travel restrictions following the lockdown issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in Metro Manila. All international flights in the country were also suspended for a week. As travel restrictions are set to ease in Manila, the government has downgraded the city’s status to general community quarantine (GCQ). Air travel is only allowed for essential purposes for places under GCQ and no leisurely travel is allowed.
At this point the airline would not be able to resume flight activities to destinations like Auckland, Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Busan, Fukuoka, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Macau, Melbourne, Phnom Penh, Perth, Port Moresby, Quanzhou (Jinjiang), Sapporo, Seoul (Incheon) and Shanghai due to ongoing travel restrict8ions. Other flights that are currently operating is also subjected to changed depending on the coronavirus related situation.
However, Philippine Airlines has also undertaken several new safety procedures for travel. The airline was also one of the first carriers to introduced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a part of the cabin crew uniform. The airline has taken a step forward and announced that all its cabin crew will undergo rapid antibody testing before the flight in order to maintain the safety of the passengers and staffs from the deadly virus. Usage of face masks and covering has also been declared mandatory and passengers are being encouraged to allow more time at the airport due to social distancing rules and thermal screening.
The airlines also compared its onboard environment to a hospital operating room to ensure safety and hygiene of the passengers. All of the carrier’s aircraft are equipped with high-technology systems that replace the air in the cabin every two to three minutes. The company is also using HEPA filters to trap and remove 99.9% of contaminants, including bacteria and viruses from the air.