Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific mount special flights for OFW repatriation from Kuwait

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) — Local airlines Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific will be mounting special flights to Kuwait to help repatriate distressed Filipino workers in the Middle Eastern country.

The airlines made this announcement Saturday, a day after Duterte said he wants all Filipino workers who want to go home from Kuwait on a plane in 72 hours.

"Cebu Pacific is mounting a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila for free. This is in response to the call for assistance by the government to repatriate Filipino workers in Kuwait," Cebu Pacific said in a statement.

Meanwhile, PAL said it will be mounting a special flight from Kuwait to Manila “within the next few days.”

"In the service of our 'kababayans' (countrymen), we will be ensuring their safe journey back to the Philippines.. PAL is more than ready to mount extra flights to Kuwait, as needed,” PAL said.

The announcement comes after Duterte ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to bring home distressed OFWs from the Gulf State

The move was prompted by the death of Filipina Joanna Daniela Demafelis, whose body was found stored in a freezer.

Duterte said he would ask Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to provide transportation for the overseas workers.

Following Duterte's statement, the two airlines said they are coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait for travel arrangements.

Both will be sending Airbus A330 aircrafts. Cebu Pacific says its aircraft has a maximum capacity of 436 passengers, while PAL’s can seat 363.

Kuwait is a top destination for Filipino workers.

The latest data from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said there are some 86,019 Filipinos in the country as of 2015.

In January, the Department of Labor and Employment in January implemented an immediate suspension of the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait as authorities probe the death of seven other Filipinos.