PAL to airlift 1M doses of Sinovac vaccines from Beijing on Monday

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines (PAL) will airlift one million doses of Sinovac vaccines from Beijing, China on Monday, its spokesperson announced.

“One million doses of Sinovac vaccines will be airlifted by PAL from Beijing to Manila on March 29 (tomorrow). We will be utilizing our A330 aircraft for this all-cargo charter undertaking,” PAL Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna said in a statement on Sunday.

PAL’s first all-cargo vaccine flight to Manila from Beijing was on March 24. It carried 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines.

“Philippine Airlines looks forward to ferrying once again to Manila these vital goods that will enable the Philippine government to continue the momentum of the country’s vaccination program,” PAL said.

The flag carrier also said it would continue to operate its domestic and international flights while awaiting new guidelines from the Department of Transportation regarding the government’s decision to reimpose the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) policy in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna.

The ECQ would take effect on March 29 (12:01 a.m.) until April 4 (11:59 p.m.)

PAL said the Department of Transportation would be working on the official guidelines for the aviation sector.

On Saturday, budget carrier Cebu Pacific said it would continue to operate its domestic flights as scheduled until April 4.

“Only essential travel is allowed at this time,” the budget carrier said in an e-mailed statement.

Cebu Pacific announced on March 23 the cancelation of a total of 36 domestic flights from March 25 to April 4, including flights from Manila to Boracay, Lagazpi, Cauayan, Cebu, Pagadian, Ozamiz, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, Naga, and Virac.

Flights were canceled because of the stricter guidelines in the NCR (National Capital Region) Plus, where only essential travels are allowed, until April 4, 2021.

On Friday, PAL said a total of 75 international flights from March 26 to April 5 were canceled, including flights from Dammam, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Fukuoka, Dubai, and Hong Kong to Manila.

PAL said it needed “to comply with the continuing restrictions that limit the maximum number of passenger arrivals from international flights to 1,500 a day for all airlines combined into Manila until 8:00 a.m. of April 19.”

Both PAL and Cebu Pacific advised affected passengers to rebook their flights, request refunds or store the amount of their tickets in a travel fund. — Arjay L. Balinbin