Nearly 1,000 Stranded Canadians Flown Home by PAL

Around 1,000 stranded Canadians in different parts of the Philippines were finally flown back to Canada by Philippine Airlines (PAL) in three special flights. These Canadian-nationals were stranded due to the enhanced community quarantine covering the Luzon region and some parts of the Philippines in order to stop the spread of the Coronavirus CoviD-19.

Photo credits: Nicco Reonisto

These special flights were arranged by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines.

Flight PR118 from Manila to Toronto carried 347 passengers utilizing a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, PR116 from Manila to Vancouver carried 326 passengers utilizing the B777 aircraft too, and PR5118 carried 263 passengers from Manila to Vancouver to Toronto utilizing the Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Considering that PAL's Boeing 777 has 370 seats and the A350 is configured 295 seats, these were almost full flights.

To ensure the safety of the whole flight, passengers had to go through rigorous medical screening at the airport while all cabin crew wore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which included a face shield, protective garment, gloves, and face mask.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Canadian Ambassador-designate Peter James MacArthur, joined by PAL President Gilbert Santa Maria, led a simple send-off ceremony at the passenger boarding gates in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

Prior to the flights from Manila to Canada, PAL operated a network of sweeper flights from Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Puerto Princessa to Manila bringing with them 600 Canadians who will transit via Manila hub to their respective international PAL flights back to Canada.

Many foreign tourists were stranded in the Philippines due to the government imposed ECQ which also placed a lot of travel restrictions around the Philippines which forced all local airlines to suspend regular passenger flights.

The Canadian Embassy and Philippine Airlines are now arranging for two additional repatriation flights to Canada on April 17 and 18 respectively.

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