Philippine Airlines cancels flights as crew fall ill from COVID-19 Omicron surge


Philippine Airlines posted a travel advisory on January 10, 2022  that it is canceling several of its domestic and international operations due to staff shortage. In its statement, the airline also noted that there has been an increase in flight cancellations and rebooking from passengers as they themselves test positive for COVID-19, or are in self-isolation due to exposure. 

“With the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases, we are receiving more calls from passengers who need to rebook or cancel their flights because they have tested positive or are in precautionary isolation.  At the same time, many of our frontline team members are unable to report for work. We are thus facing challenges in sustaining our full regular operations and ensuring prompt service for all our customers,” Philippine Airlines said in a statement. 

An airline spokesperson told local media that less than 10 percent of its cabin crew frontline roster either tested positive or in precautionary quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 positive patients. “Our airport team set up a tent where stranded passengers can stay as they await their turn to enter the PAL ticketing office in NAIA (Manila International Airport).”

The airline suggests that passengers continually check their respective flight status as there may be a need to cancel more flights or make operational adjustments due to the “very fluid situation.”

Currently, over 20 international routes are canceled, including operations to Sydney, Tokyo, Melbourne and Singapore. A complete list of disrupted flight operations can be viewed here.

Ticketing operations have also been disrupted as the airline announced the temporary closure of its ticket office in Angeles City (80 kilometers north of the capital Manila) until January 16, 2022, in order to “to comply with health protocols as a safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.”

The Philippines is approaching the 3 million mark in total COVID-19 cases, with over 52,000 deaths in total. The capital city, Metro Manila, is currently facing a 50% positivity rate. 

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