Covid: Emirates, Etihad flights affected as Philippines borders shut

Dubai - Cebu Pacific's Dubai-Manila operations remain unaffected.

(Reuters file)
(Reuters file)

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Wed 17 Mar 2021, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Mar 2021, 7:06 PM

Airline frequencies between the UAE and Manila have been affected as the Philippines government announced border closures as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19.

The government announced it would restrict the number of Filipinos entering the country as authorities battle to contain a spike in coronavirus infections.

In response to this, UAE carriers have announced restrictions in capacity to fly to Manila and other cities in the island country.

UAE's national carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline have announced flight disruptions. Cebu Pacific, however, said its Dubai-Manila operations remain unaffected.

The government has ordered that international inbound arrivals at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport be limited to a maximum of 1,500 passengers per day.

Etihad Airways

The Abu Dhabi-based airline said in a statement to Khaleej Times that it will temporarily restrict the number of passengers to Manila from March 18 until April 18.

"Following regulations being updated by the Philippines authorities, a further limit on the number of passengers per flight allowed to disembark at Manila International Airport has been applied."

An Etihad spokesperson stated travellers returning to the Philippines are encouraged to contact the airline to ensure their travel plans are not disrupted. The statement added: "We will work closely with impacted guests and travel agents to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and re-accommodate them on alternative flights."

Emirates Airline

An Emirates Airlines spokesperson said its flights to Manila, Clark and Cebu are operating as scheduled. However, for flights to Manila, capacity is restricted until April 18, "subject to review by the authorities".

Its outbound flights from Manila, Clark, and Cebu remain unaffected.

"All of our customers are important to us, and while we cannot accommodate all with their preferred flight schedule, we are working hard to minimise disruption as much as possible," the spokesperson said.

Cebu Pacific

Philippines' largest flag carrier on Wednesday said its Dubai-Manila flights would remain unaffected.

Passengers will continue to fly from Dubai to Manila five times per week, with four return flights.

From March 20 to April 19, only Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) would be allowed entry back to the Philippines. The entry of foreign nationals and returning overseas Filipinos is temporarily suspended.

The following are also exempted:

• Holders of 9(c) visa

• Medical repatriation endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs

• Distressed returning overseas Filipinos

• Emergency, humanitarian and analogous cases

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