SWEEPER FLIGHTS

Close to 400 stranded foreigners in Cebu flown to Manila

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Reporter/CDN Digital | March 20,2020 - 05:53 PM
Close to 400 foreign travelers left stranded in Cebu have been transported to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as of March 20, 2020. | Photo courtesy of Mactan Cebu Airport

Close to 400 foreign travelers left stranded in Cebu have been transported to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as of March 20, 2020. | Photo courtesy of Mactan Cebu Airport

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Close to 400 foreigners left stranded in Cebu have been transported to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as of March 20, 2020.

Based on statements from GMR – Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), two batches of foreign travelers were flown from Mactan Cebu International Airport to Manila on March 19, 2020, onboard separate sweeper flights from the Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country’s flag carrier.

The first batch sent to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) composed of 240 foreign passengers while 134 more for the second batch. This brings the total number of foreign nationals transported to NAIA from Cebu at 374, as of March 20, 2020.

After the Inter-Agency Task Force on Managing Emerging Infection Disease lifted travel ban for outbound international flights, airport authorities from the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT – 7), and Philippine Air Force, and executives from PAL mounted special flights for stranded foreign passengers.

The travel was initially put in place as preventive measures on the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which had infected over 244,000 individuals globally.

MCIA has been assisting more than 600 foreign passengers affected by the government-imposed travel restrictions and cancellations of domestic flights in Cebu,” MCIA’s statement read.

“Together with all airport stakeholders, the MCIA has been assisting stranded passengers affected by the government-imposed travel restrictions and cancellations of domestic flights in Cebu since Wednesday (March 17, 2020),” it added.

Airport authorities also vowed to keep the public updated on more special flights in the future.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Manila announced that they will also be mounting a special repatriation flight at MCIA on March 21, 2020, that will transport their constituents to Cologne./dbs

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TAGS: COVID-19, DOT-7, MCIA, PAL, Philippine Airforce, special repatriation flights, stranded foreigners, stranded passengers

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