‘NOT ANYTIME SOON’: Iloilo Airport still closed to int’l flights

Photo by F.A. Angelo

By John Noel E. Herrera

International flights at the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan are not resuming anytime soon as airline companies are in no rush anyway.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said that even though the provincial government is now ready to implement additional health protocols due to the monkeypox outbreak for the resumption of international flights, there are still no requests or demands from airline companies for direct flights to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Defensor added that an airline company that earlier expressed interest in resuming international flights had changed its mind.

“There’s no demand. Nag-simulation na kita and we are ready, but I think, ang request, there’s one airline that requested but hindi na anay sila magdayon, so hindi siya mag-resume. Wala pa sang (international) flights,” Defensor said in a press conference.

The governor also emphasized that the provincial government is prepared to give a go signal for the resumption of flights if they received a request from airline companies as protocols in the airport are already in place.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific used to have direct flights to Singapore and Hong Kong from Iloilo Airport before the suspension happened due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The provincial government, through Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO), Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Quarantine, and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)-Iloilo also conducted simulation exercises like screening of incoming passengers to ensure the safety and lessen the risk brought by the COVID-19 and monkeypox.

IPHO chief Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quinon also said that all arriving passengers, whether local or foreign, are being checked for monkeypox signs and symptoms as they are on the lookout for any kind of skin lesions which is a common manifestation of the viral disease.

“Pagsulod sang aton bisita, foreign man or local, gina-check for any signs and symptoms. Pero mas ginapa-strengthen naton ang paglantaw sang skin lesions nga posible magiging signs and symptoms sang persons nga may monkeypox,” Colmenares-Quinon said in a press conference.

The provincial government also created a screening team to monitor the incoming, both local and foreign, passengers at the airport.