PAL suspends flights on Kuwait route due to slowdown in travel
Dubai: A major carrier in the Philippines has announced it will temporarily halt its direct flights to and from Kuwait, barely two months after the Asian country officially banned the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Gulf state.
Philippine Airlines said on Saturday that effective May 16, it is suspending two of its flights: PR 668, which flies from Manila to Kuwait and PR 669, which flies from Kuwait to Manila, as it is no longer economically sustainable to maintain these flights amid a slowdown in travel.
The airline will continue to serve Kuwait through its flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman.
The airline confirmed that it had earlier started encountering “difficult market conditions” on the Kuwait route, even before the ban officially took effect.
The Philippine’s flag carrier had been repatriating hundreds of distressed Filipino workers from Kuwait to Manila and so far, nearly 900 individuals have been flown into their home country, free of charge.
Filipinos last month were banned from travelling to work in Kuwait following reports of violence and abuse against OFWs. As of the last count, there were 250,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait. Since 2016, more than 80 Filipinos deployed there have been reported dead.
The airline noted that despite the “difficult market conditions,” it had maintained the flights to Kuwait “as a service to our countrymen working in this Middle Eastern country.”
But with the repatriation now complete, PAL said it has now deemed it necessary to stop serving the Kuwait route.
“With the repatriation effort now complete, the ongoing slowdown in OFW travel to Kuwait has made regular operations economically unsustainable, hence the need to suspend these flights to Kuwait until such time that market conditions on the route improve,” the airline said in a statement.
Passengers with flights on May 16 and beyond may avail of any of the following options:
– Rebook their flights to travel on or before 16 May.
– Reroute their PAL Manila – Kuwait journey to fly on PAL to Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Doha, and then on Other Airlines (OAL) for the connecting flight to Kuwait.
-Reroute their PAL Kuwait – Manila journey to fly on Other Airlines (OAL) to Abu Dhabi or Dubai or Doha, and then take the PAL flight home to Manila.
-Refund their unused tickets.
The airline assured affected passengers with confirmed tickets that it will refund, reroute or rebook their tickets and waive any related charges.
“PAL will shoulder the cost of flights on Other Airlines (OAL) for passengers who avail of option 2.”
GULF AVIATION NEWS