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PAL, Cebu Pacific offer COVID-19 testing for pre-flight convenience

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and budget airline Cebu Pacific starting next month will be offering COVID-19 testing to their passengers before their flights.

In separate statements, PAL said it will be offering passengers departing from the country the convenience of its own RT-PCR testing center in Manila starting December 1, while all Cebu Pacific passengers going to General Santos City will have to undergo the airline's antigen testing at the airport just before their flights starting December 3. 

“Starting December 1, PAL ticket holders will enjoy a P500 discount from the PHP 4,500 regular rate,” PAL said.

The COVID-19 RT-PCR testing site is located at the Philippine Airlines Learning Center in Ermita, Manila with Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory as its DOH-accredited partner.

The test results from PAL’s testing center will be released within 12 to 24 hours.

“PAL ticket holders may choose either a drive-thru or walk-in service option. The testing facility is open daily from Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no noon break,” it said.

“Passengers will experience pre-departure convenience with the testing facility's guaranteed release of results within 24 hours,” it said.

PAL said travelers may pay in cash or card or through GCash, PayPal, WeChat Pay, or Alipay.

Upon entering the testing facility, PAL passengers must present their ID, PAL ticket, and QR code indicating completed registration on the PAL Passenger Profile and Health Declaration form.

Except for flights to the US, Canada, and Australia, all passengers must register and accomplish the online Passenger Profile and Health Declaration Form as early as five days before departure.

In the meantime, PAL has also partnered with other accredited laboratory and testing facilities to provide passengers exclusive and discounted testing fees and/or quicker release of results.

There are currently eight testing partners with more than 50 branches combined, available within Metro Manila and other Provinces like Cavite, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Iloilo, and Cebu.

The testing fee and release of results vary among testing partners.

To avail of the services of PAL's other testing partners, passengers must proceed to the testing facility and present their ID, PAL Ticket, and QR Code indicating completion of registration via the PAL Passenger Profile and Health Declaration Form.

Cebu Pacific

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific said Test Before Boarding (TBB) antigen testing will reduce the risk of infection between testing and boarding, finding infected passengers in a more timely manner.

Only passengers with negative antigen test results will be allowed to board the CEB aircraft, the airline said, while those with positive results will be referred to another testing facility for confirmatory RT-PCR testing.

Cebu Pacific said TBB - to be done together with the General Santos City government and in coordination with the Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory (PADL) - will run for a two-week trial period and free-of-charge during the pilot run.

Passengers in these covered flights will no longer have to take any other test prior to their flight, the airline said.

“We welcome this development through Cebu Pacific, because it opens up more people to the idea of traveling again. We believe this will be a breakthrough initiative, as it will allow our residents to feel more secure and not be wary of arriving passengers from Manila,” said Mayor Ronnel Rivera of General Santos City.

Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Customer Experience Candice Iyog said, “Safety has always been our topmost priority and in this current environment, health is part of safety. We look forward to the results of this pilot so we can pave way for a more confident restart of non-essential travel and a standardization of requirements across all Philippine destinations. We would also like to laud General Santos City for
piloting TBB with us.”

Pre-flight checklist

Passengers must fill out an electronic passenger information form (E-PIF) and pre-register here at least 24 hours before their flight.

They must also secure a travel authority to be allowed entry into the city, and check-in online before going to the airport, as part of Contactless Flight procedures.

At the airport, guests must proceed to the testing facility located at Level 3 of the NAIA Terminal 3, five hours before departure to give ample time for testing procedures.

Once called for their turn, swab samples will be collected, with results to be released within 30 minutes.

After completing the test, DOH-accredited PADL will provide passengers with a certificate showing the results of their Antigen test. They can then proceed straight to gate or bag drop counters until an hour before the scheduled time of departure at 1:05 p.m. -MDM, GMA News