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Business Air News Bulletin
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PhilJets enters the fray to assist foreign tourists
Despite managing a fleet of 17 aircraft including nine helicopters and eight private jets, PhilJets had to use its industry partners' aircraft to support missions to bring home stranded tourists in the region.
Tourists are stranded throughout the Philippines.

Since the enhanced coronavirus quarantine started in the Philippines, foreign tourists have found themselves stranded throughout the archipelago, with no means to return home to their families. 

Mandated by the French Embassy and the German Embassy, PhilJets has mobilised its team and coordinated with its network to transfer 144 tourists that were still stranded in some of the 7,641 different islands of the Philippines back to their countries of residence. 

Considering the ongoing lockdown in the Philippines, the mission included organising the evacuation of 144 foreign passengers in a single day, on April 8th, by coordinating a total of five private charter flights from some of the most popular tourist locations in the country such as Boracay, Siargao, which is known for its surfing spots, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Davao to Manila, where the passengers boarded chartered international flights to return to their respective home countries.

In total, 101 German and 10 French nationals were flown by PhilJets using a variety of aircraft manufactured in Canada such as the Bombardier Q400, in the USA such as the Cessna 206 and in Germany such as the Dornier 328.

In addition, other passengers benefited from the mission, including 16 Filipinos, five Austrians, four Irish, Slovakia and Belgian citizens as well as other European, Singaporean and Israeli national passengers. 

All passengers were able to connect with their corresponding flights for Frankfurt and Paris on the same day. Geoffroy Cahen, commercial director of PhilJets, who was involved in the planning, coordination and operation of the mission, says: "We are all delighted to have contributed to support this initiative and assist hundreds of tourists in need, and we are happy they were able to reach their homes safely."

The success of such project was possible thanks to the hard work and the collaboration of many including German ambassador in the Philippines Mrs. Anke Reiffenstuel, French ambassador Nicolas Galey and their respective teams, the support of Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao, Governor Florencio Miraflores and Mayor Frolibar Bautista of Aklan. 

Also involved were Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincent Emano of Butuan and Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada, as well as Mary Jean Camarin from the Department of Tourism of Caraga, Butuan city. Government entities such as the Civil Aviation Authority Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippine, Department of Transport and Department of Foreign Affairs also played a very critical role in this operation.

Despite managing a fleet of 17 aircraft including nine helicopters and eight private jets, PhilJets had to use its industry partners' aircraft to support the mission. The operational partners of PhilJets included flagship carrier Philippine Airlines, Platinum Skies Aviation and Asian Aerospace, which all contributed in making the entire journey possible by providing the required aircraft. "It has been a quite stressful operation to handle considering the unusual complexity of obtaining flight permits due to the coronavirus pandemic, but our colleagues, teams and partners have done an outstanding job," said Abigail Macabit, senior marketing and communications executive at PhilJets.

Robert Reguero, CEO of PhilJets added: "We extend our gratitude to everyone involved in the missions in providing the stranded families a solution to get back home to their loved ones. We will continue to assist and provide our support to customers, partners and the community to the best of our capabilities. We hope that together, we will manage to get through these difficult times."

PhilJets, which traditionally operates business aviation and tourism flights has nevertheless the experience and know-how in arranging and completing emergency evacuation flights, including supporting organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontiers, the International Red Cross, embassies and other entities during the last major typhoons in the Philippines, and with such experience is familiar with emergency medical, evacuation or extraction flights services through its diversified fleet of helicopters and planes. In addition, PhilJets has had to start arranging air cargo transport, cargo flights and logistics, in order to fulfil the demand for protective personal equipment (PPE) and other various equipment including masks, gowns, gloves, both from China to the Philippines and international cargo flights.

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