With Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ), flights seemed to have resumed in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Some rejoice over the possibility of travelling again. Others express disappointment as its cities continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. But most of all, there’s been an ongoing confusion as to who and what these flights exactly are for.
Between 29 May and 1 Jun 2020, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippines announced their resumption of flights for select destinations. The country’s flag carrier is currently operating both domestic and international flights. Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Philippines are operating domestic flights only. With limited options, Filipinos are advised to look into GCQ flying guidelines before making necessary travel arrangements.
GCQ flying guidelines you should know
Flights allowed under GCQ
Under the Guidelines on the Operations of Public Transport during GCQ released by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the following are the only allowed flights under the GCQ:
- Government and military flights
- International flights subject to existing Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) or Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) protocols
- Air ambulance and medical supplies
- Flight check and weather mitigation flights
- Maintenance and utility flights
- Emergency flights
- Domestic flights coming to and from provinces and cities under general community quarantine, subject to required airport clearances and flight plan approvals, as maybe applicable
- Other flights as approved by IATF-EID
Passengers who are qualified to fly domestically
In separate advisories, the airlines stress flying only for essential travel under the GCQ. It does not include travelling for leisure purposes. For domestic flights, this applies to the following:
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
This includes OFWs returning to their locale. Prior to flying, they must have a Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) certificate, passport with arrival stamp, and ID which indicates their proof of residence.
Local stranded Filipinos
This includes Filipinos who are stranded outside their city or province of residence. Prior to flying, they must have a Medical Clearance Certificate, which can be obtained from the city or municipality health office. Using the same document, they must also get a Philippine National Police (PNP) travel authorisation from the nearest police station.
Any other authorised person
This includes those travelling outside their city or province of residence for work. Prior to flying, they must have a Certificate of Employment and company ID. In some cases, a Medical Clearance Certificate issued by the city or municipality health office and PNP travel authorisation may also be required.
Passengers who are qualified to fly internationally
Furthermore, overseas flights are limited to select passengers only. Following the policies set by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), these only include stranded foreigners, OFWs returning to work, and holders of permanent residency and student visas in their country of destination.
Available commercial flights from NAIA per carrier
Given the developing changes in the GCQ flying guidelines, available flights may change at any time. As of 3 Jun 2020, these are the passenger flights available from Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippines.
Commercial flights from NAIA by Philippine Airlines
Philippine Airlines is operating flights to and from the following domestic destinations starting 8 Jun 2020: Bacolod, Basco, Busuanga, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Cebu, Cotabato, Davao, Dumaguete, Dipolog, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, and Zamboanga. All domestic flights will depart from and arrive at NAIA Terminal 2.
The airline will also continue to fly to and from the following international destinations, which already began on 1 Jun 2020: Australia, Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, London, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, the UAE, USA, Qatar, and Vietnam. All international flights will depart from and arrive at NAIA Terminal 1. Booking is available on Philippine Airlines website, mobile app, and select ticket offices in Metro Manila.
Commercial flights from NAIA by Cebu Pacific
Cebu Pacific and Cebgo are operating flights to and from the following destinations starting 2 Jun 2020: Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, General Santos, and Naga. All flights will depart from and arrive at NAIA Terminal 3. Booking is available on Cebu Pacific’s website and mobile app.
Commercial flights from NAIA by AirAsia Philippines
AirAsia is operating flights to and from the following destinations starting 5 Jun 2020: Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Tacloban, and Tagbilaran. All flights will depart from and arrive at NAIA Terminal 3. NAIA Terminal 4, where AirAsia’s domestic flights originally operate, remains closed at this time. Booking is available on AirAsia’s website and mobile app.
For the flight numbers and available schedules, passengers may check with the respective airlines or Manila International Airport Authority’s (MIAA) Facebook page for international flights. They must also comply with NAIA’s new normal travel guidelines and other COVID-19 precautionary measures which continue to be in place. Until these GCQ flying guidelines change, non-essential travellers are advised to stay home and review airline options for when recreational travel is allowed once more.