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DOTr prepares for increased arrivals in airports over the holidays

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is preparing for more incoming passengers to the country, with the arrival capacity of some airports increased for the Christmas season amid the pandemic.

In a media forum on Wednesday, DOTr Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario said the arrival capacity was increased at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and at other airports to grant airlines’ request for additional flights.

“Sa ating NAIA Terminal alone, dinagdagan natin ng ating arrival capacity sa 5,000 daily. At ‘yan po ay dahil sa kahilingan ng iba't-ibang airlines na magdagdag ng flight,” he said.

In October, the number of daily inbound passengers in NAIA was limited from 4,000 to 2,500 to prevent incidents of stranded returning overseas Filipino workers due to limited testing and delayed results.

The average number inbound and outbound passengers in NAIA daily before the pandemic was recorded at around 18,000.

The arrival capacity for Clark International Airport and Mactan–Cebu International Airport was also increased to 2,000 passengers daily.

Due to the additional capacity, the DOTr also improved its One-Stop Shop for returning OFWs.

More personnel to collect swab samples were added to shorten the processing time.

Del Rosario said that the DOTr is also working with laboratories to ensure that RT-PCR results will be released within hours, and not later than 48 hours.

According to him, the Philippine Airlines has committed giving free PCR-based testing for OFWS arriving from Middle East from December 12 to 31.

DOTr also increased the number of chartered flights to ferry OFWs heading to provinces, Del Rosario added. — BM, GMA News