Thursday, June 24, 2021

Civil Aeronautics board blocks resumption of domestic flights

THE Civil Aeronautics Board of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) ordered on Sunday, May 31, airline companies to stop their service resumptions, which was supposed to take place Monday, June 1, after the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City expressed alarm over the danger it could pose brought by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In a statement made by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, he said he became worried when Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced that it will be resuming its daily Manila-Bacolod-Manila service on June 1.

PAL's announcement was then followed by AirAsia Philippines, which announced the resumption of domestic trips on June 3.

Cebu Pacific, meanwhile, has not announced any resumption of flights to Bacolod, although it stated it is limiting its domestic operations while awaiting information from the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Following PAL's announcement, Leonardia said he got in touch with airline officials. He also submitted a letter to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing informing him of the dangers that could be brought should commercial flights resume.

Even Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who made a press conference last Friday, opposed the opening of airports and seaports.

Following up the concerns, Civil Aviation Board Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla issued an advisory to airline companies, informing them that the IATF has yet to approve the routes for domestic air services.

Arcilla also told airline companies to cancel all flights scheduled on June 1 and to stop selling tickets, while awaiting a decision from the IATF.

The top officials in Western Visayas last week, had already expressed opposition to commercial sea and air travel, with an exemption for pre-arranged flights and accommodation only of returning overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals.


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