Philippine Airlines Resumes Service to Tacloban After Airport Re-Opens

The Tacloban Airport was finally reopened just three days after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. The airport was described as completely destroyed following the storm but repair teams have been on site working around the clock to restore basic services in a desperate effort to begin operations once again so that the airport can accept badly needed deliveries of relief goods. 

Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
The city of Tacloban is devastated and is facing its worst emergency since World War Two. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines lifted the closure order on airports in the Visayas over the weekend enabling some relief goods to be airlifted into the disaster-stricken region. However, Tacloban Airport has been restricted to turboprop operations only. Philippine Military C-130 aircraft and US Military KC-130 aircraft have already arrived in Tacloban carrying relief goods and personnel.

Philippine Airlines restored flights to Tacloban Airport on Monday with Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop aircraft. The first flight carried a number of relief personnel, international media, and anxious relatives in search of missing people. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority is waiving traditional airport fees and charges levied on airlines for "flights that will transport relief goods, medical personnel, relief operations personnel, security personnel and recovery equipment."

Tigerair Philippines and AirAsia Zest also serve Tacloban Airport with regularly scheduled flights but are unable to restore flights at this time as they only operate Airbus jet aircraft. Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific has decided not to fly to Tacloban yet. "By Tuesday evening, everything will be back to normal operations except for Tacloban," said Candice Iyog, Vice President of Marketing for Cebu Pacific. "Cebu Pacific does not yet have commercial flights for Tacloban." However, the airline noted that humanitarian flights would be operated to assist stranded passengers.

With flight limitations in place at Tacloban Airport restricting air traffic to smaller turboprop aircraft, Philippine Airlines decided to use Cebu as its base for feeding traffic into Tacloban. While the restriction is in place, passengers travelling to Tacloban will be routed through Cebu where they will board a PAL Express Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop aircraft that will bring them to Tacloban. At present, PAL Express is operating four daily flights between Cebu and Tacloban.

An official of Philippine Airlines reported that partial operations will continue until the Civil Aviation Authority permits commercial jets to land. Until now, the government has installed the necessary safety mechanisms to accommodate turboprop aircraft only. "CAAP has put in place preparations to ensure that the arrival and departure of these aircraft that are non-commercial jets - but turboprop aircraft - can enter and exit safely," said the official. "We provided these avenues because there are a lot of passengers who want to fly into Tacloban and visit their loved ones and families, as well as people who want to fly back to Manila but they have no way of doing that because they have no way to utilize their existing tickets."


  1. thank you PAL Express/PAL!

  2. thank you so much PAL. Mabuhay po kayo!

  3. so you mean PAL Express can go to TAcloban via Cebu and vice versa. I just want to clarify because we are scouting possible ways to get our 8 member relatives there via PAL Express. and how much it will cost us. Thank you very much.

  4. Hello PAL Express you have flight this coming Dec. 4 2013 in Tacloban? I'm from Leyte & one of the victim of the super typhoon, But I'm here now in Cebu and I booked my ticket going to manila last Oct 16, 2013. I would like to ask how can I reroute my ticket on dec. 4. Instead of tac-manila, i want it to be transferred to ceb- manila flight.


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