Melco to shoulder expense of chartered flight for staff, stranded Filipinos

Melco Resorts & Entertainment is chartering a flight to the Philippines today for its workers and some stranded Filipinos wishing to return home.
A source familiar with the matter told the Times that the gaming operator is paying 100% of the flight cost via Philippine Airlines.
Since there are still available flight seats, the gaming operator has offered the seats to the Philippine Consulate General in Macau who then contacted stranded Filipinos under special circumstances such as those with disabilities, elderly people, or pregnant women.
“The seats on the plane will not be used by the company so the remaining seats will be used by the Philippine Consulate,” said the insider, who requested anonymity.
It remains unclear whether the Filipino nationals who work for the gaming operator are on work leave or have been laid off due to the economic downturn caused by the impact of Covid-19. The insider declined to comment on the matter.
A request for clarification from the Macau gaming operator went unanswered yesterday.
Last week, the gaming operator reported an operating loss of $149.9 million for the first quarter of this year, compared with an operating income of $191.1 million over the same period last year. In a statement, the group noted that operating revenues plunged 41% year-on-year to $810 million.
The special flight is scheduled to depart Macau at around 4:30 p.m., according to a passenger who will be on the flight tomorrow.
Joseph Concepcion, a stranded Filipino in the SAR, said he was contacted by the Consulate to inform him that a flight back home will be made available. He was then asked to sign a statement promising that he will be on it.
The Consulate acquired Concepcion’s contact details as he had previously applied for financial assistance and relief packs from the office.
Concepcion is one of the few hundreds of stranded Filipinos in the SAR who wishes to go back home after he suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in the city’s public hospital.
“Today [yesterday] they confirmed to me that I will be joining the flight. They said that I have to be at the airport 1:30 p.m. because the flight will be at 4:30 p.m.,” Concepcion told the Times.
The Times also contacted the Philippine Consulate General to enquire how many slots were given to them by the gaming operator. No reply was given by press time.
The Philippine Consulate General conducted a survey in April to determine the number of nationals stranded in the city due to the pandemic outbreak.
The first repatriation scheme was held in early March and brought home 148 Filipinos from the SAR. These Filipino nationals were mostly tourists stranded in the SAR in the wake of the Philippine government’s decision to restrict travel between the Philippines and China and its SARs after news of the Covid-19 epidemic broke.
Currently, there are still no flights connecting Manila to Macau as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and AirAsia, the three airlines who run the routes, have not yet resumed operations.
Manila’s airport re-opened on May 11 allowing inbound international charter and commercial flights to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. However, these flights have yet to be assigned landing days.
Passengers arriving the country are subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

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