By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has temporarily suspended all its remaining international flights starting today , March 26, 2020, until April 14, 2020.
Already, PAL has stopped operating all of its domestic flights as of March 17, 2020.
“After careful consideration, we concluded that PAL could no longer sustain even a limited number of international flights because of the strict travel and entry restrictions imposed by more and more countries,” the flag carrier explained in its public statement issued the other day.
PAL also cited the resulting collapse in demand for travel as well as the continuing challenges in staffing of its Manila airport hub during the ongoing lockdown as reasons for stopping its operations.
The flag carrier’s last flight to depart from Manila this week was PR 104, bound for San Francisco at 10:10 PM on March 25.
Several flights will continue to arrive in Manila today, March 26, from Los Angeles, Tokyo Narita and Jakarta, and tomorrow, March 27, from New York JFK, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“Our firm goal is to resume operations starting April 15, 2020, if warranted by Philippine and international authorities, global public health conditions and the travel environment,” PAL assured.
“We shall now turn our attention to the task of conserving our resources in anticipation of the recovery and caring for the needs of our PAL team members, while we keep our fleet ready for the day that we resume flying,” the airline stated.
Furthermore, “We shall continue to make aircraft and service personnel available for special flights to retrieve stranded passengers as well as cargo flights to keep intact critical supply chains across our islands.”
Given the current circumstances, PAL pledged to “do its best to keep its customer support network open to serve client needs, including its website and customer Global Reservations Hotlines”.
“We understand that this pause in operations will be an inconvenience, and we hope for your understanding as we look to the safety of our colleagues and our families as we all face this global contagion.”
“The global crisis is monumental in scale, but we are confident that we can all join together and work to overcome the challenges, and that your flag carrier will soon be back in the air to again link our beautiful country together and connect us with the world,” the flag carrier concluded.