Airport seeing slow uptick in travelers; first flight arrives from the Philippines

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The Guam airport is seeing a slow uptick in the number of travelers coming in and the first Philippine Airlines flight since late-March arrived this morning on Guam with fewer passengers than forecasted.

There were 212 projected travelers on the PAL flight, that landed around 4:30 this morning but only about 130 people were actually in their seats.

Tom Ada, Guam International Airport Authority executive director, says around 120 people got on the return flight that left Guam for Manila shortly after.

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With the exception of two passengers on that incoming PAL flight, all the travelers were taken to quarantine at a GovGuam hotel facility since the Philippines is considered a “hot spot” by Adelup.

Two more flights are scheduled for this month.

“On June 20th, and that flight has a projected passenger load of 229 passengers, and then a week later on June 27th, we have a third flight that is expected to have 180 passengers,” Ada said.

And while PAL has resumed their service to Guam, Ada says they’ll only be running one flight a week through July, which comes in Saturday mornings.

Overall, though, Guam is seeing a slow and steady increase in incoming passengers.

“We’re seeing that the flights coming in from Honolulu have been increasing quite a bit in terms of the number of passengers, and I think that’s mostly your students coming in. The numbers coming in from Narita are also starting to increase. So maybe, just about a month ago, we were looking at maybe 20 or 30 passengers on the Honolulu flight, we’re now double that. The same thing with Narita,” Ada said.

He added: “Of course for the airport, that’s good because every time that airplane lands and takes off, it’s revenue for the airport.”

Ada says there’s two parts to the problem for travelers.

“Tourists don’t want to fly all the way to Guam and end up getting stuck in a quarantine facility. So, that’s one part of the equation. But even if we opened up our borders and did away with a quarantine requirement, they don’t want to come out here, spend a week and then on their return home, they have to spend 14 days in a quarantine facility over there. So it works both ways,” Ada said.

He says the GVB is working with Guam’s source markets to see what can be done to open up the borders safely and lift quarantine for travelers.

Jeju Air, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air have all delayed their flight resumption to Guam until around the end of July at the earliest…

“I know that in the case of Japan Airlines, they indicated that they will need at least 45 days to reactivate. So if we said today, we’re opening up, it’s going to take them that long to get things back in motion again,” Ada said.

Japan Airlines is in talks with Guam to have their pilots start training again on routes to Guam but they need assurances that they won’t be quarantined when they arrive here.

As for the airport itself, Ada says they’ve implemented strict COVID protocols, including thermal screening, social distancing, intensified cleaning, and Plexiglass at any customer facing counters.

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