Australians with confirmed seats on a special flight from Manila to Sydney on Friday 24 July were bumped off, only hours before they were scheduled to depart.
Over 200 passengers received an email notification on Friday morning, which advised that the flight would be limited to a “minimum passenger load” due to limitations with quarantine processing in Sydney.
Philippine Airlines staff at NAIA has stated that only 32 names were provided for inclusion in the manifest by the Australian authorities. There was originally reported to be 234 passengers on this flight.
Many flew to Manila from other cities such as Davao, only to discover on arrival that they would not be accommodated on the flight to Australia.
According to Nikka De Guzman who flew from Davao, “We tried to appeal with PAL to at least consider us as I am pregnant. After explaining to different staff in NAIA even to the airport operations manager, we had no luck. He just told us that the highest paid seats got on the list.”
This comes as the previous flight from special flight from Manila on July 10 was cancelled, which PAL stated was due to “Australian quarantine/testing restrictions.”
Flight options for those stranded in the Philippines
Passengers who were not accommodated on PR211 on July 24 have been offered to convert their ticket to a Travel Voucher, or refund.
Passengers and others who remain stranded in the Philippines have been advised to email the Australian Embassy on firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in a further sweeper flight.
Philippine Airlines has made scheduled flights available for booking from late October via their website. The airline is accepting bookings from Manila to Sydney on October 27. The next scheduled bookable flight from Manila to Melbourne, as well as Manila to Brisbane are both on October 30.
PAL states that the scheduled flights are subject to limitations set by the health and airport authorities in Australia.
Hotel quarantine limits and charges in Sydney
In response to the reduced number of arrivals in Sydney, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated, “Our number one priority is the health and safety of the people of NSW, and this new cap will help us protect our state from COVID-19.”
According to NSW Government, “Overseas arrivals in Sydney will be capped at 350 passengers per day from 12.01am Monday 20 July.” “The 350 passenger per day cap is 100 passengers less than the previous cap, which was introduced on Sunday 5 July.”
Since 18 July, the NSW Government is charging passengers for hotel quarantine, unless the flight was purchased before 11:59pm 12 July AEST. The cost for the 14 day hotel quarantine is $3000 per adult and $1000 per child.
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