Myths you should not believe with regards to the resumption of commercial flights in PHL

There are a lot of misinformation circling around which concerns the resumption of commercial aviation in the Philippines. Sadly, some are even mentioned by journalists and newscasters.

This has created unnecessary panic among those travelling which has also generated some sort of negative social media posts against the airlines.

We now run down some of these "myths" and why you should not believe them even if it comes from regular media journalists. It is better to be informed than to be misled by false information.

Myth: Sitting side by side inside an aircraft can cause covid-19 transmission

Totally untrue! We can never compare riding in an aircraft to riding a jeepney, a bus, or a regular car. Moreso, we cannot compare an encloused aircondition office or restaurant to an aircraft as well! Totally far from those.

The airflow inside a bus, a jeepney, and restaurants is horizontal. The airflow inside an aircraft cabin moves vertically, from top to bottom and recirculates through ducts which passes through HEPA filters. Then 50% of the used air is flushed outside while 50% new air is injected and only 50% is recirculated from top to bottom.

The air flow which goes from top to bottom does not allow contaminants and droplets which may contain the coronavirus to travel which may affect passengers in other seats, instead, are blown downward.

The airflow direction is one, and the other is that the air inside the cabin is renewed every 3 minutes and that the modern aircraft like those from Airbus are equipped with HEPA filters which provide clean air. The air inside an aircraft cabin is very clean and very comparable to the air inside hospital operating theaters.

Just lately, PAL offered a new seat option called the "distancing seat" where some seats in the cabin have either the middle or aisle seat blocked. However, PAL still offers their regular seats. The airline offered this not because distancing on board has been mandated but because it just wanted to offer its customers an option especially for those who are really not so comfortable with other people beside them. That's it, nothing more.

Myth: Social distancing is mandated on board

Totally untrue! Social distancing on board is not mandated by the Philippines' Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Implementing social distancing on board is to the airline's discretion however, the chance of Covid-19 transmission on board is very very low. So if someone says that airlines are breaking laws for not maintaining social distancing inside the aircraft, do not believe them. No law has been broken.

Myth: Its the airlines fault why flights are being cancelled last minute

Totally wrong! Airlines cancel flights not because they want to nor they can't take the number of passengers, but because of force majeure!

Local government units (LGU) keep changing their mind on the last minute whether they should open their airport or not. While it is understood that they are doing this for safety reason, this kind of decision making has forced airlines to cancel flights also last minute, causing more LSIs to stay within the airport premises.

In fact, our airlines want to increase capacity because they want to fly back these LSIs however, they cannot increase capacity due to limitations in biosecurity measures like covid-19 testing and screening facilities in airports. The airlines are no longer in charge of these testing facilities in our airports, those fall under the hand of the national and local governments.

Some Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights from the United States had to fly to Cebu before going to Manila due to the lack of screening and testing facilities in Manila.

Some LGUs and airports can no longer take the number of LSIs hence, they order the closure of inbound flights to their respective regions, forcing airlines to cancel flights.

So we hope this informs you all. Do not be mislead by speculations or even fake news. Know the facts. 

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