Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Tuesday, March 24, announced that it is temporarily suspending international flights from March 26 to April 14 as more people around the world become infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The airline said in a statement that it “could no longer sustain even a limited number of international flights” as more countries implement strict travel and entry restrictions due to the pandemic.
Following the ‘enhanced community quarantine’ in Luzon, PAL joined the country’s major airlines in ceasing operations of domestic flights on March 17 until at least April 12.
It also attributed the decreased demand for travel for its suspensions, as well as the “continuing challenges” with regard to the staffing of its Manila airport hub amid the lockdown.
“Accordingly, our last flight to depart from Manila this week will be PR 104 bound for San Francisco at 10:10 PM on March 25. Several flights will continue to arrive in Manila on March 26 from Los Angeles, Tokyo Narita, and Jakarta, and on March 27 from New York JFK, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,” the airline said.
“Our firm goal is to resume operations starting 15 April 2020, if warranted by Philippine and international authorities, global public health conditions and the travel environment,” it added.
PAL said it will now focus on conserving its resources for its workers and be on standby for select flights to “retrieve stranded passengers.”
“We shall continue to make aircraft and service personnel available for special flights to retrieve stranded passengers as well as cargo flights to keep intact critical supply chains across our islands,” PAL added.
COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization as it has already infected more than 386,960 people worldwide and killed more than 16,750.