MANILA — Local officials should approve more flights to the provinces to reduce the number of stranded passengers, some of whom took shelter under an expressway outside the capital's airport, Cebu Pacific said Friday.
Before the coronavirus lockdown in March, some routes had several flights a day to and from Manila, like General Santos, Davao and Cebu cities. Some areas are now down to 1 or 2 flights per week, said Cebu Pacific spokesperson Charo Logarta-Lagamon.
"We are constantly working with the national government and we are constantly appealing po sa mga LGU na dagdagan po sana, kahit paunti-unti po, iyong mga frequency ng flight," Lagamon told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Kung hindi po natin dadagdagan, lalo na po doon sa mga high-demand routes, hindi po mauubos ang number of stranded passengers here in Manila," she added.
(We are constantly working with the national government and we are constantly appealing to local government units to increase, even gradually, the frequency of flights. If we won't add flights, especially in high-demand routes, we will not run out of stranded passengers here in Manila.)
Authorities in Pasay, where the NAIA is located, have moved hundreds of stranded passengers to a public school since Sunday, said Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano.
A fresh batch of about 50 passengers whose flights were canceled took shelter under an expressway near the airport on Friday morning, as a tropical depression Butchoy dumped rains over parts of Luzon and Visayas.
Passengers cannot enter NAIA without a confirmed flight. They can also stay at the airport just a few hours before their trip.
Some passengers failed to get alerts about flight cancellations because Cebu Pacific "never had their contact details," said Lagamon.
Rubiano said she asked airport managers to notify passengers about canceled trips through social media, television and radio.
"Kung talaga walang ticket, 'wag na muna silang pumunta. Iyong mga canceled ang flights, sana po tanggapin din ng nandidito sa NCR, Region 3, Region 4 na pinanggalingan nila, pabalikin na," she said.
(If passengers don't have tickets, don't go here yet. I also hope that those with canceled flights could be accepted back by authorities in Metro Manila and Regions 3 and 4, where they were from.)