Flag carrier ready to fly in balikbayans

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    Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is ready to serve returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) with the launch of its nonstop flights in key international routes.

    In a statement, PAL said it will offer regular direct flights to facilitate travel to the Philippines, in line with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 85 allowing the visa-free entry of “balikbayans,” starting December 7, 2020.

    This latest visa-free privilege also applies to foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals, provided they travel with the Filipino nationals.

    “Travelers from the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia and much of Asia will get to enjoy PAL’s nonstop flights to the Philippines, designed for a safe travel experience that avoids connecting via other countries, and offering strong health and safety measures to protect our passengers,” said PAL.

    Balikbayans and overseas Filipinos may choose from a wide range of regular PAL flights every week, as follows:

    From the US, PAL will have six flights per week for Los Angeles-Manila, four flights per week for San Francisco-Manila, and two flights per week for flights from New York, Guam and Honolulu going to Manila.

    From Canada, PAL will have once a week flight from Toronto to Manila and two flights weekly from Vancouver to Manila.

    PAL will also have flights in London (Heathrow), Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

    In Asia, it has flights in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur-Manila, Jakarta-Manila, Tokyo Haneda-Manila, Tokyo Narita-Manila, Fukuoka-Manila, Osaka Kansai-Manila, Nagoya-Manila, Hong Kong-Manila and Taipei-Manila.

    From the Middle East, it has flights in Dubai, Dammam, Riyadh and Doha.

    “The flag carrier observes the highest safety standards in all phases of the travel experience. Our HEPA filters disinfect cabin air of bacteria and viruses with 99.99% efficacy. Our cabin crew wear protective gear throughout the flight. We carry out intensive disinfection of aircraft surfaces before and after every flight,” said PAL.

    For passengers arriving in the Philippines who are non-OFW, PAL established a one-stop-shop testing center for the mandatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 for a lower charge of P4,000, with test results within 12 to 24 hours.

    OFWs will be swabbed by the government testing center at the airport free of charge. The cost will be shouldered by the Philippine government. (M. Iglesias)