An executive of an airline company revealed that most stranded individuals in Manila are Davao City-bound.
Cebu Pacific Air corporate communications director Charo Logarta Lagamon said based on their tracking of passengers’ destination through their tickets and bookings at the airport, majority of them are flying to Davao.
With the high passenger volume, the airline is willing to fly the stranded individuals back home by mounting more flights to Davao City.
Lagamon added that government entities that include the Philippine Army, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are helping organize their repatriation.
“We know where they are going. We know their destinations, we know if they have valid tickets or not and we are able to get them into a group so that we can mount special flights,” she said.
She also said that the current once a week flight of Manila-Davao-Manila is already booked until July this year.
“The only other way to solve this dilemma of stranded individuals who have nowhere else to go in Manila in particular is to really add frequency,” she said.
Lagamon said Cebu Pacific is appealing to the city government of Davao to allow the airline to mount more flights. She said the airline is ready to do so and ready to comply with whatever are required.
“We are also implementing every possible preventive measures to ensure and to minimize the risk of infection,” she said.
Lagamon said Cebu Pacific already sent a letter addressed to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio appealing for additional flights as the once a week Davao-Manila-Davao and once a week of Davao-Cebu-Davao is not enough and will take so long before all of the stranded passengers are able to fly back home.
“We are really appealing for the city government of Davao to allow us and we are ready to mount additional flights that we can announce in regularity so that the people know when they have to be at the airport,” she said. “We can even do once daily for Davao City or more because in places like Cagayan de Oro for instance we are allowed twice a day already. Note that the demand for CDO is not much as Davao. But we are still very far cry from where we used to be where before if you recall we are mounting multiple flights per day to and from Davao to various destinations while today you only have two routes and you only flying them once a week,” Lagamon added.
Lagamon also thanked the city government of Davao as the airline has been mounting several special flights for the past two weeks to fly stranded individuals to Davao.
“We are very thankful to the city government of Davao and we have been cooperating with them. We have been mounting several special flights already for the past two weeks to fly stranded individuals to Davao but the thing is, since it is a special flight and the tendency of other people who are stranded because they are desperate to get home is to make their way to the airport thinking they would take their chances like any other chance passengers but it is not the case anymore in this new normal for flying because if you do not have a confirmed flight you will not be allowed inside the airport,” she said.
Currently, Cebu Pacific is flying to about 18 domestic destinations and the frequency of the flights depend on the route.
“We are doing either twice a day, some are once a day and some three times a week. It really depends on the destination and their capacity to admit or accept travel individuals as well as quarantine policies that are in placed in that locality,” she said.
Lagamon shared that pre-COVID-19, the new coronavirus 2019, pandemic and the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), for Manila-Davao-Manila, Cebu Pacific had flight schedules of 63 times a week and fly 34,000 passengers while the current once a week of the same route they could only fly 800 passengers.
For Cebu-Davao-Cebu during pre-COVID-19 and ECQ, the flight schedules were 25 times a week and fly 9,000 passengers while presently, it could only fly 350 passengers for the once a week flight of the same route.