Dubai: A special Manila-bound repatriation flight by Philippine Airlines (PAL) made an emergency landing in Bangkok early Saturday morning after one of the pregnant passengers experienced labour pains, an airline official confirmed to Gulf News.
The PAL official said the chartered flight (PR659), which carried 294 returning Filipinos, left Dubai at 9pm (UAE time) on Friday and was supposed to land in Manila at 10am (Philippine time) on Saturday but had to be diverted to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok because of the medical emergency.
The airline official did not identify the passenger but said the Filipina expat, who was 34 weeks pregnant, had medical clearance from a doctor stating she was fit to travel.
An on-ground airline doctor monitored the condition of the pregnant passenger in-flight and an ambulance was on hand as soon as the plane landed at BKK. The passenger was rushed to a hospital in Bangkok with the baby born who was born mid-flight. Both the mother and baby are in stable condition, according to the airline official.
The PAL plane and its remaining 293 passengers, meanwhile, arrived in Manila on Saturday midday.
According to the airline official, it was their first flight since March 19 after the Philippine government issued a lockdown order in Metro Manila and the entire island of Luzon at the onset of COVID-19 outbreak.
There were at least 25 pregnant passengers in the flight, according to the airline official.
Proper safety protocols were observed during the flight. Passengers were required to wear face masks and they also brought their own sanitisers while the cabin crew wore their PPE (personal protective equipment), the official added.
Another chartered PAL flight bound to Manila will leave Dubai on Sunday night, carrying at least 355 passengers, of which 28 are pregnant.