Manila Gateway Reopens to International Flights

 - May 11, 2020, 4:27 PM
Philippine Airlines' first Airbus A320neo takes off for delivery to Manila from Hamburg in July 2018. (Photo: Airbus)

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

International arrivals at Manila’s main gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), resumed on Monday under limitations specified by a Notice to Airmen issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The notam allows for international chartered flights to land at NAIA on Mondays and Thursdays while commercial flights may land on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Operators must secure prior clearance from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the CAAP for slots at NAIA, whose traffic inflow authorities have capped at 400 passengers per day.

"The restrictions, which will last a month, from May 11 to June 10, are going to be implemented in NAIA only, with other international airports in the country having their separate restrictions," the advisory said.

The announcement comes after NAIA moved to temporarily suspend all domestic and international flights on May 3 to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. As part of a new government directive, passengers arriving in the Philippines must undergo strict quarantine and testing procedures.

Meanwhile, local airlines have instituted plans to boost safety measures as they prepare for the resumption of flights after May 15. According to budget carrier Cebu Pacific, all ground and flight crew must wear personal protective equipment while pilots and cabin crew will undergo rapid antibody testing before flights. Middle seats in aircraft will remain open and all passengers must wear face masks on flights.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines is adopting similar safety protocols, although it hasn’t finalized social distancing measures for seating.