PAL Never Fails to Provide Humanitarian Services in the Middle of any Major Crisis since 1941

No pandemic nor civil unrest can stop Philippine Airlines from fulfilling its mission to the country. From the time the airline spread its wings in 1941 to today, PAL never stopped providing air services for the Filipinos in the middle of wars, uncertainties, and natural disasters. 

Photo credits: Cielo Villaluna
The Philippines and the Filipino people have seen a lot of calamities, civil unrest, epidemics, and now, a pandemic grip the country and the rest of the world, to the point that things may seem too impossible to allow life to move on. However in the middle of all these uncertainties is an airline dedicated and brave to weather the storms in order to fulfill its mission for the "Inang bayan."

From flying back homesick American servicemen to the United States in 1946 after the war to repatriating Filipinos during the 1991 Gulf war to bringing home trapped Filipinos while civil war was going on in Libya in 2014 to flying Filipinos back to the country in the middle of the CoviD-19 pandemic now gripping the world, PAL has always been there for the Filipinos by providing necessary air services, both passenger and cargo.

Flying during these times is very risky and dangerous, particularly to all onboard the flight, be it in the middle of a pandemic of civil unrest. Rescue flights all the more in the middle of a war can even cause lives, but for PAL, bravery takes a huge step on top of fear.

In 2011, a civil unrest erupted in Libya where forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and foreign supported groups seeking to oust his government fought it out in an armed conflict. In the middle were more than 10,000 OFWs in Libya trapped. Many attempted to escape by climbing high walls, all wanting to return to the safety of the Philippines.

PAL sent in two Boeing 777s to rescue these displaced OFWs via Crete in Greece. The jets landed at Heraklion Airport, Crete, almost 10 hours apart.

Both aircraft were filled with OFWs who were excited to return home to their families. The rescue mission however was not an easy one as PAL had to secure all the necessary permits in order to carry out this rescue flight. The video of this rescue is seen below.

Today, the world faces even a greater crisis, a war. Not an armed war where guns and missiles are the weapon of choice, but medicines and medical equipment. The world is facing the Coronavirus or CoviD-19 pandemic, and this is the first pandemic after 1918. The CoviD-19 has affected more than 3 million people worldwide and has caused life around the world to stop.

Countries and nations have closed their borders and lockdowns were in place in order to curb the spread of the virus. This has caused air travel demand to plummet, forcing airlines around the world to ground more than 90% of its fleet. Tourists and citizens were stranded in other countries as airlines had to halt scheduled air services. PAL itself together will all other local airlines had to suspend all regular passenger services as the Philippine government imposes a lockdown which restricted air travel.

Despite the challenges, restrictions, and danger that lie ahead, PAL continues to fly cargo and repatriation services to ensure essential cargo supply lines remain flowing and stranded passengers are brought to their destination.

Photo credits: Airbus
PAL continues to operate all-cargo flights from different parts of the region bringing with them essential medical supplies and equipment needed by the frontliners and medical staff in the quest to fight CoviD-19. These include PPEs, masks, and other supplies needed by the health industry. PAL passenger aircraft like this Airbus A330 seen in the picture is loaded with cargo, from the cargo hold to the cabin itself. This include 2,500 boxes of PPEs needed by the frontliners. Since the start of the pandemic, PAL has flown over 870,000kg of supplies from various countries back to the Philippines, all essential in the battle versus CoviD-19.

Repatriation flights are indeed dangerous and risky, considering the CoviD-19 pandemic and its fast transmission, especially to countries with a high rate of infection. Despite suspending regular scheduled flights, PAL has not abandoned its mission to the Filipinos, and that is to "fly you home" regardless of the situation. 

Photo credits: Meriam Santiago Abueva

PAL has already operated several international repatriation flights bringing Filipinos including OFWs back to the Philippines. PAL has operated flights to London, Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Male (Maldives), Milan, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Saudi Arabia, and countries with the region. Knowing the high risk of contamination, PAL cabin crew were provided with Edwin Tan - designed PPEs which they wear in all their flights, ensuring that their health is at check.

PAL continues to operate more repatriation flights bringing stranded foreign nationals to their country and bring Filipinos back to the Philippines.

The support is not only limited to the sky, but to the ground as well. PAL crew members, both flight deck and cabin, have provided support to all ground frontliners like medical staff, the police, grocery workers, etc. A project named "Crew Meal for the Frontliners" spearheaded by flight steward Archie Nino Osio together with people from PAL have distributed packed meals to around thousands of frontliners. 
Photo credits: Archie Nino Oslo
One thing that makes us proud about the Philippines is that we have an airline carrying our flag and our country's name on it, symbolizing what the heart of a Filipino is: brave, steadfast, and always there for one another. An OFW once said "just by seeing a PAL plane arrive in our airport (out of the country), I know that I am already home."

Since 1946, PAL has never failed in its mission to serve the country and the Filipinos. To this date, it continues to do so and for as long as there is "the Philippines", there will always be a PAL answering its call of duty for the country and humanity.

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