Emirates to stop passenger flights March 25

Amid calls to temporarily stop the flights at Clark International Airport, Dubai carrier Emirates announced it will suspend all passenger flights starting Wednesday, March 25.

On Sunday,indignant Pampanga residents have called on President Rodrigo Duterte to temporarily suspend flights at the Clark airport to prevent the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19.

The Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corporation earlier said it will stop all domestic airlines with flights to Clark starting March 20. But OFWs continue to arrive at the Clark airport in numbers most of whom came from coronavirus-affected countries.

Long-haul airlines such as Qatar Airways and Emirates, however, continue to operate at Clark airport. Qatar already reduced its daily flights to four times a week.

With Emirates suspending all its passenger flights on March 25, Qatar Airways will be the only Middle Eastern airline still serving the Clark route.

A viral Facebook appeal called on the government to temporarily suspend flights at Clark airport. “What was Malacanang thinking?,” asked Pampanga-based journalist Lincoln Baluyut. “Most of the OFWs who hail from the North were allowed to leave without even checking on their health status.”

Some 200 OFWs from COVID-19 affected countries have arrived five days ago and reportedly assisted by the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) to the Dau Bus Terminal.

“Although we will still operate cargo flights, which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended all its passenger operations,” said Emirates Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum. “We continue to watch the situation closely and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”

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