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PAL to announce cancelled flights for APEC

PAL said passengers with confirmed tickets from Nov. 16 to 20 have the option to rebook their flights. Rebooking and penalty charges are waived. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) will announce its cancelled flights once authorities provide the final schedule of runway closures in connection with the arrival of heads of state for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Nov. 16 to 20.

The cancellations are supposedly to enable the use of the runways of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for arriving dignitaries, political and economic leaders, and corporate executives, who will have their meetings in Manila and Iloilo City.

In a statement yesterday, PAL said it is concerned that the arrivals and departures of heads of state at the NAIA would disrupt operations, causing cancellations of several flights.

PAL said passengers with confirmed tickets from Nov. 16 to 20 have the option to rebook their flights. Rebooking and penalty charges are waived.

“For information on flights, passengers may call PAL hotline (02) 855-8888, visit any PAL Ticket Office or log on to www.philippineairlines.com,” PAL added.

Cebu Pacific earlier released the list of its cancelled flights without waiting for the announcement of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) regarding the schedule of runway closures.

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As of yesterday, several heads of state submitted their flight schedules to the APEC National Coordinating Council.

Heads of state will start arriving on Nov. 16 to 17. No flight of heads of state is expected on Nov. 18. Leaders will start departing from Manila on Nov. 19 to 20.

Normal flight operations are expected to resume on Nov. 21.

MIAA has advised passengers to plan their trips well before or after the APEC summit to avoid inconveniences when going to the airport.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, opposes moves of airlines to cancel flights during the APEC summit.

He suggested the diversion of cancelled flights to Clark Airport in Angeles City, which is about 70 kilometers north of Manila.

“The planned cancellation would trigger economic slowdown as they could adversely affect the movement of people, goods, and services,” Castelo said in a statement.

The committee last week held a hearing with officials from the Department of Transportation and Communications, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and other agencies on their preparations for the country’s hosting of the APEC. The hearing also tackled the reported cancellation of flights at NAIA.

Castelo said the flights should be restored, but local and international airlines could use Clark as the alternative landing site even on a limited basis.

“It’s time to experiment Clark’s viability as an alternative airport,” he added. “There should not be any hindrance of the movement of people because it could lead not just to inconvenience but greater economic losses.”

He cited Cebu Pacific Airlines as among the local airlines that announced the cancellation of its international and local flights.

Castelo urged the authorities to find ways to cushion the adverse effects of the cancellation of those international and local flights.

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