Dubai: Regular commercial flights between Dubai and Manila will remain suspended in September as well, but Philippine carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific have been authorised to deploy special services, dubbed Bayanihan flights, next month.
PAL has confirmed that Flight PR659 from Dubai to Manila will be deployed on September 2, 4, 6, 8, 14, 16, 18 and 22, while Cebu Pacific will operate Flight 5J15 from Dubai at 3am (UAE time) on September 4, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29.
There is no announcement yet from the Philippine government whether it will extend the travel restrictions it had imposed on ten countries, including the UAE, until next month, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bayanihan flights are part of its temporary measure to bring home stranded Filipinos.
A Dubai-based spokesperson for PAL earlier confirmed to Gulf News that regular commercial flights remain suspended until August 31. The Philippine government had first imposed restrictions on inbound travel from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman and the UAE on May 15 to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus.
Negative PCR test result required
The PAL spokesperson also reminded all passengers bound for Manila to secure a negative PCR test report before travel, even for infants, valid for 48 hours before the flight. She noted: “We will be very strict with the validity of the test. To avoid refusal at the check-in counter, the passenger must ensure the test is valid for 48 hours — meaning, if the flight is on September 4 at 7.30pm, the test must not be taken earlier than 7.30pm on September 2.”
The PAL official also said that based on guidelines set by the Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), airlines are required to ensure bookings for a 14-day hotel quarantine for all inbound passengers before they can secure a special permit to deploy a Bayanihan flight.
Free baggage allowance
Cebu Pacific, meanwhile, said their passengers on Bayanihan flights will get “a limited free baggage allowance on their check-in baggage and free in-flight meals”.