Dubai: Another Dubai-Manila flight by Philippine Airlines (PAL) has been cancelled due to travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government. A PAL official in Dubai told Gulf News that PR flight 659 on March 24 has been suspended.
PAL had earlier cancelled two flights on March 18 and March 20 and more flight cancellations will be announced soon, once details are confirmed, PAL said on its website.
Apart from the 1,500 limit on incoming passengers, the Philippine government has also imposed a travel ban on foreigners from entering the country effective March 22, 12.01am (Manila time) until April 21, 11.59pm (Manila time).
PAL said those affected by the flight cancellations can avail of any of the following options: Rebook on the same cabin class (with rebooking service fees waived); refund ticket cost or convert ticket into a travel voucher for future use.
The travel restriction is part of the pandemic control measures announced by Philippine authorities. The country recorded 7,757 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, following a record of 7,999 new infections on Saturday, March 20 — the highest increase in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
Changes and cancellations
Speaking to Gulf News, Geoffrey Salatan, retail sales manager at a travel agency in Dubai, said: “We can expect more flight changes and abrupt cancellations as the Philippine government is reviewing and weighing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. There is also a need to address some issues such as shortage of quarantine facilities and the recent passenger limitation arrivals.”
“It must be noted that airlines and travel agencies have no control on these sudden changes but they are obliged to abide with the protocols mandated by the government. It is indeed difficult as people travel not only for leisure but to see their families and some for emergencies, medical reasons and other important things. Passengers should also be aware that when rebooking, seat availability is also a challenge,” he added.
UAE airlines affected
Meanwhile, Emirates and Etihad also announced last week they have restricted flight capacity on the Dubai-Manila route, following a directive from Philippines’ aviation regulator.
Emirates said that while flights from Dubai to Clark and Cebu will operate normally, capacity will be restricted on the Manila route until April 18. “We continue to follow the Philippine Civil Aviation Authorities’ directive to restrict capacity on inbound international flights,” an Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News.
An Etihad Airways spokesperson added: “We are temporarily restricting the number of passengers carried between Abu Dhabi and Manila from March 18 until April 18. We will work closely with impacted guests and travel agents to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and reaccommodate them on alternative flights.”