No flights to Manila from Dubai via Cebu Pacific until June 20

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Stranded seafarers wait to board a chartered flight at Dubai Airport on Monday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: There are still no flights between Dubai and Manila via Cebu Pacific (CebPac) until June 20, Gulf News has learnt on Monday.

“Cebu Pacific has cancelled its flights to and from Dubai from June 15 to 20, 2021 to ensure that its operations restart smoothly and safely. This schedule realignment is geared toward avoiding any last-minute changes that could cause inconvenience to our passengers,” the airline posted on its website.

A Philippine Airlines (PAL) official in Dubai also confirmed to Gulf News that flights (PR658 and PR659) between Manila and Dubai are still not yet operational.

Restrictions remain in place

The Philippine government first imposed restrictions on inbound travel from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Oman and the UAE from May 15 until May 31.

Philippine carriers — PAL and CebPac — then extended the flight cancellation between the UAE and Philippines until June 15, following the decision of the Philippine government to extend restrictions on “travellers going to the Philippines coming from seven countries, including the UAE, until June 15.

UAE airlines — Emirates and Etihad — however, “continue to operate flights to Manila carrying transiting passengers from non-restricted countries and flights from Manila with passengers travelling to the UAE and across its network.”

Repatriation flights

Despite the travel restrictions, repatriation flights to the Philippines continue. On Monday, around 290 seafarers bound to Manila are set to leave at 8.45pm (UAE time) from Dubai International Airport. “Flight PR8659 (DXB-MNL) is a chartered flight organised by an agency in Manila for stranded seafarers in the UAE. Despite the flight restrictions, we are still busy coordinating chartered flights,” a PAL official told Gulf News.

Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes added another 350 Filipinos will be repatriated on Wednesday as part of the continuing repatriation programme organised by the Philippine missions in the UAE and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs. “We ask our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) who wish Philippine government assistance in returning to the country to email the consulate at atn@pcgdubai.ae. The Philippine government – keeping the welfare of our people in mind -will always assist our kababayans in the most efficient way possible,” Cortes said.