Over 500 HK, China flights to the Philippines cancelled

At least 558 Manila-bound Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights from Hong Kong and China have been cancelled, according to PAL President Jaime Bautista in an Inquirer.net report, following the Quirino Grandstand hostage tragedy on August 23 and a travel ban to the Philippines issued by Hong Kong after the crisis ended.

In a news release, Bautista said, "PAL is beginning to feel the initial impact of a Hong Kong government advisory warning its residents to refrain from all travel to the Philippines... We’re closely monitoring the situation, and (we) will decide soon whether (to) maintain or reduce (PAL’s five daily flights to and from Hong Kong). We share the grief and understand the Hong Kong people’s wrath. We are optimistic that fears of traveling to the Philippines will be temporary."

Bautista added, "We understand that Philippine officials in Hong Kong met with the latter’s legislative and travel councils and assured them that the Philippines is still a safe and viable tourist destination. We are looking forward that it will soon lead to the lifting of the travel restrictions."

GMANews.tv reports that Cebu Pacific Air released a statement on August 25 saying they received "rebooking requests for less than five percent of the total daily passengers carried in its Hong Kong flights." The statement also said that those who have Hong Kong to Philippines (and vice versa) flights scheduled from August 24 to 31 "may rebook their flights or store their travel credits without penalties."

Inquirer.net reported on August 25 that no other countries have issued travel advisories similar to Hong Kong’s, though France advised its citizens to be vigilant in the Philippines, and the United Kingdom included "a factual reference to the (hostage taking) incident in the (United Kingdom’s) travel advice."

For more on this story, log on to Inquirer.net and GMANews.tv.

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