PAL to accept OFWs on flights to Saudi Arabia as ban retracted

Aviation Updates Philippines – In a statement released on Saturday, May 29, 2021, national flag carrier Philippine Airlines confirmed it is again accepting Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) on flights to Saudi Arabia after the government directive to ban deployment was retracted earlier.

Photo from PAL Corporate Communications

"Effective today, May 29, 2021, Philippine Airlines is pleased to accept Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) on its flights to Saudi Arabia (Dammam, Riyadh)," PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said.

"This follows the decision of the Department of Labor and Employment lifting the temporary suspension of deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia."

"The Philippine government has received official communication from the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that foreign employers and agencies will assume the costs of quarantine protocols upon arrival in KSA."

In a memorandum sent out on Saturday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III lifted the deployment suspension of OFWs to Saudi Arabia.

"This is in view of the clarification and assurance of the KSA Embassy that OFWs are not being required by their employers/foreign recruitment agencies to shoulder the costs of the health and safety protocol for COVID-19 and insurance coverage premium upon their entry to the Kingdom," the memo read.

PAL yesterday released a statement saying the airline "...were unable to accept OFW passengers on our flight PR5654 Manila-Riyadh and PR5682 Manila-Dammam today, May 28, 2021." This came after the Philippine government's directive to temporarily suspend OFW deployment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As a result of the ban, the flag carrier was forced to dispatch the flight to Dammam and Riyadh with only three non-OFW passengers aboard. PAL decided to push through with the flights to serve OFWs who urgently need to return to the Philippines.