By: AirTravellerPH Staff
The Philippines' biggest airlines have pledged their commitment to help repatriate OFWs in the Middle East due to the ongoing tension in the Gulf area. Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, Philippines AirAsia, together with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) have pledged to aid in the possible repatriation of OFWs from countries affected by tension between the United States and Iran.
In a report by state-owned People Television (PTV), CAAP Director General Capt. Jim Sydiongco said, "Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have agreed to accommodate free of charge stranded Filipinos in the UAE or in any of its available Middle East flights, once the plans for the repatriation has been outlined. Air Asia on the other hand has agreed to the possible allocation and free accommodation of repatriated Filipinos that need to go back to their respective provinces in their domestic flights."
The airlines' commitment came after the defense, labor, and transportation officials met to draft plans for the evacuation of Filipinos in countries and areas of the Gulf region affected by the growing tension.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade said that the aviation sector guarantees a swift and effective implementation of the repatriation plan.
“When needed, our aviation sector, and the whole of DOTr, will fully support the government’s efforts in this repatriation. We will ensure that there will be no delays in getting our OFWs home and safe,” Tugade said.
CAAP on the other hand has pledged its support and readiness to comply with the government's air requirements, air asset needs, and air traffic air to facilitate air movement.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific presently have scheduled commercial flights to the Middle East region with aircraft capable of flying the route which have a capacity of more than 350 passengers. While Philippines AirAsia does not have direct flights from Manila to the Middle East, it will be assisting in terms of handling the domestic flights for repatriated Filipinos.
Capt. Sydiongco also said, "CAAP will be doing its part and will be more than willing to support air operations that will ensure the safety of the Filipino people in this crucial time."
Guidelines still have to be set and finalized on how to avail of the services of the three airlines.