PAL ferries Canadians back home

Nearly 1,000 Canadian nationals were flown home on Wednesday, April 15, on special Philippine Airlines flights to Vancouver and Toronto, after being stranded in various Philippine provinces for almost a month due to Covid-19 community quarantines.

Canadian Ambassador-designate Peter James MacArthur and PAL President Gilbert Santa Maria join the send off ceremony of the crew and passengers bound for Canada.

The Canadians arrived in three batches at the Vancouver International Airport and Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto on special PAL flights arranged by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines.

The Manila-Toronto flight (PR 118) brought home 347 passengers while the Manila-Vancouver flight (PR 116) carried 326 individuals. The third batch arrived via a combined Manila-Vancouver-Toronto flight (PR5118) carrying 263 passengers. Two Boeing 777 and one Airbus A350 aircraft were deployed for the Canada mission. The three flights returned to Manila this morning.

Canadian Ambassador-designate Peter James MacArthur with the passengers before boarding the plane.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and Canadian Ambassador-designate Peter James MacArthur, joined by PAL President Gilbert Santa Maria, led a simple send-off ceremony at the passenger boarding gates in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on April 14.

To ensure safety and protection before and during the flights, the passengers, including senior citizens and children, underwent rigorous medical screening at the airport prior boarding, while PAL flight attendants donned Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as part of the airline’s protective measures onboard.

Cabin crew wearing their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) onboard.

A network of PAL domestic sweeper flights had earlier ferried around 600 Canadian citizens from Palawan, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Cagayan de Oro to Manila, to catch the three Canada-bound PAL flights.

The flag carrier and the Embassy are arranging two more special flights to the Canadian East and West Coasts to repatriate more Canadians, on April 17 and 18 respectively.

Last April 7, PAL mounted a special flight to London carrying British nationals. On April 18, PAL will operate three special flights, to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane respectively, to fly home stranded Australians. All these flights will return to the Philippines carrying returning Filipino citizens.

PAL has suspended its regular domestic and international operations until April 30, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of travel bans and restrictions imposed by local and foreign governments.

However, the flag carrier continues to serve the public via cargo charter flights that transport food, medicines, electronics and essential hospital supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment, etc., to keep critical supply chains intact across the Philippines.In coordination with local and foreign government agencies, PAL also mounts sweeper and repatriation flights to help bring home foreign nationals and stranded Overseas Filipino Workers. 

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