AIRPORTS operated by state-run Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) remain operational to ensure the unhampered flow of cargo and to transport stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and foreign passengers.
In coordination with local government units and the airlines, CAAP-operated airports such as those in Busuanga, Laguindingan, Butuan, General Santos, Zamboanga, Dipolog and Bohol-Panglao are continuously launching sweeper flights to assist and transport stranded OFWs and foreign passengers to airports where they can board flights to their international destinations.
As of March 28, 367 sweeper flights have flown to the country’s regional airports for this cause.
The sweeper flights, catered to by the remaining personnel stationed at CAAP airports, serve as frontliners of the aviation industry.
With the help of CAAP frontliners such as airport cleaners, firefighters, medical staff, security personnel, ground staff and air traffic operators, operations in the country’s regional commercial airports have remained unhampered and passengers and cargo continue to be serviced.
With limited supply of protective gear, several airport workers have started their own efforts to protect themselves from getting infected by the virus by producing their own face shields.
“Our skeletal team here at Zamboanga International Airport started this activity because we wanted to help protect our frontliners, to show them that we are with them in this together, and that together, we can continue serving our people and patrons,” Toto Alfonso, CAAP area manager 9, said.
Jim Sydiongco, CAAP director general, lauded the Zamboanga airport’s efforts and called for solidarity as the nation and the aviation industry fight to thrive amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We all know how this is affecting the aviation industry, but unitedly, and with the resiliency that I have seen in our frontliners, I know that we will get through,” Sydiongco said.
“As we persevere to maintain orderliness in our operations each day, I am proud and comforted by the fact that we have frontliners bravely serving the Filipino people,” Sydiongco added.