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Airport ready, but CAB says no approved domestic routes yet

The Francisco International Airport is now ready for the gradual opening of some flights as the general community quarantine is extended in the city until June 15 on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Maj. Ronel Tesorero, the assistant chief of the Aviation Security Unit, said they have already prepared the facility under the new normal scenario.

“We have advance information from PAL (Philippine Airlines) that they have four flights on Monday,” Tesorero said.

An advisory from the Civil Aeronautics Board dated May 30, however, warned that the IATF has yet to approve any route for domestic air services. Consequently, airlines are hereby advised to cancel their flights on June 1, 2020 and to stop selling tickets on the said date, it read.

The document was signed by executive director Carmelo L. Arcilla.

Last month, the airport started to install markings in preparation for the resumption of its operations. On April 22, the airport police started the installation of a language translation app to help them communicate with visiting tourists who have difficulty in English.

Tesorero said that they talked about security measures, social distancing, and new drop-off lanes for the private vehicles and taxicabs, and the strict implementation of the no send-off parties for the passengers.

Also, the airport police station had coordinated with airport security for the observance of social distancing inside the terminal building. As directed by the airport manager, the airport terminal-in-charge already arranged the benches in the waiting lounges to meet the standard of social or physical distancing.

Engr. Rex A. Obcena, Davao airport manager, called for an emergency meeting of concerned government agencies on April 21 to anticipate possible eventualities during the implementation of the new normal.

They discussed during the meeting:

A. How all flights shall be regulated and controlled

B. All waiting lounges shall be maximized to follow social and physical distancing.

C. Possible utilization of the old Davao international airport passenger terminal to accommodate passengers of delayed flights

D. Utilization of the newly widened drop-off lane where all private vehicles shall only utilize Lane 1 in dropping off their passengers.

E. There shall be a Davao International Airport Police station uniformed personnel manning the epidemic prevention stations to assist the Bureau of Health Quarantine personnel.

F. The declaration of the city government that no well-wishers and welcome party shall be allowed inside the landside area will still be followed.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte on Thursday asked agencies in charge of arranging flights for stranded Dabawenyos to off-board passengers who manifested symptoms or those who tested positive for COVID-19 from mercy flights.

The mayor made the call after several returning Dabawenyos, through sweeper flights, tested positive of the virus or have manifested symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

Last week, four overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) aboard a sweeper flight tested positive of COVID-19. A few days later, two more persons who came home through another sweeper flight failed the health screening conducted by the City Health Office.

The city government has so far accommodated 2,266 inbound passengers and 3,635 outbound passengers since April 29.

We need to screen inbound passengers and also screen outbound passengers because those who are COVID-19 positive or manifested symptoms should not be allowed to board, she said.

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