Dubai: Flight services between the UAE and Philippines should return to full capacity this month, according to travel agency sources, and likely bringing down ticket rates to some extent. The Philippines had earlier added the UAE to the ‘green-list’ of countries, signalling a road to full and normal travel.
“There are a lot of Filipinos waiting for commercial flights to start – they cannot afford the Dh5,000-Dh10,000 charged by the ‘special flights’,” said a spokesperson from Fly Mode Travels. “For commercial flights, the flight tickets should be only Dh1,000.”
Until now, commercial flights were yet to resume in full and the ones listed by airlines prone to last-minute cancellations or reschedules. Only the ‘Bayanihan’ repatriation flights were operating on the route right now, but given the demand levels, a seat can cost upwards of Dh10,000.
The travel agent also added that more Filipino expats are coming to the UAE.
Paying much more
Despite the exorbitant fares charged for the special flights, many passengers were still choosing this option. “Flights listed by airlines were getting cancelled frequently,” said a spokesperson for Kabayan Travels.
A direct flight from Dubai to Manila on November 26 was costing around Dh4,000. For November 27, the low-cost carrier was operating another flight to Manila with fares at around Dh3,800. “We are getting a lot of enquiries to fly to the Philippines and the ticket prices are higher than usual,” said the spokesperson.
Latest travel rules
The Philippines released the new country classification list, which categorizes the UAE under the ‘Green Lane’. Travellers from Dubai will now comply with these health protocols upon arrival in the Philippines:
For fully vaccinated individuals:
• Foreign nationals - Negative RT-PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours before departure;
• Filipino citizens - Negative RT-PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours before departure or facility-based quarantine upon arrival, until the release of a negative RT-PCR test. Non-OFWs who will undergo facility-based quarantine must book a BOQ-accredited quarantine hotel and register for the RT-PCR test upon arrival.
For unvaccinated / partially vaccinated individuals, or those whose vaccination status cannot be verified:
• Facility-based quarantine upon arrival, until the release of a negative RT-PCR test, conducted on the fifth day from arrival.
• Confirmed booking at a BOQ-accredited quarantine hotel/facility for at least six nights (for non-OFWs and foreign nationals only).
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their spouse, parent/s, and/or children traveling with them vaccinated in the Philippines or abroad, Non-OFWs vaccinated in the country or abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines:
• VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate, or
• Bureau of Quarantine/World Health Organization-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICV), or
• A national digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated, whichever is available
Foreign nationals vaccinated abroad:
• WHO-issued ICV, or
• National digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement.
In November, the Philippines’ airlines were rerouting Manila flights due to capacity restrictions in the capital city. Cebu Pacific said flights from Dubai to Manila will be accommodated via Cebu and Davao to take in more travellers. Free flights to Manila will be provided after required quarantine in Cebu or Davao.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines welcomed the government move to increase limits on flying overseas passengers into Manila. “We continue to appeal for further increases that will help us add more flights on more routes from Asia, the Middle East, Australia and North America,” said the airline.
“In the meantime, we are working with government authorities to open up alternative gateway airports in the Philippines. We are doing our best to re-route more inbound flights to land in Cebu, Bohol, Subic and Davao to prevent the cancellation of previously scheduled flights due to the Manila arrival limits.”