(Photo courtesy of Airswift El Nido facebook page)

EL NIDO, Palawan — Passenger airline AirSwift conducted “mercy flights” to Clark International Airport in Pampanga on Thursday, ferrying some 265 passengers stranded here amidst a Luzon-wide lockdown.

The special flights were arranged by provincial authorities as stranded tourists scrambled to leave after Palawan declared its own lockdown early this week as part of the national government’s directive to implement a Luzon-wide “enhanced community quarantine” to fight the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

“Our last plane flew out at 10:45 a.m. The 1:50 p.m. flight was canceled because there were no more reservations,” Fely Salvador, Vice President Commercial, Airport Services and Aerodomes, told Palawan News in a phone interview.

“There was a sudden influx of chance passengers who arrived this morning from Puerto Princesa, but thankfully, they have all flown out.”

The number of tourists who were unable to leave the municipality by today will still be confirmed with the proper authorities.

AirSwift also made a special arrangement with the Palawan provincial government to conduct mercy flights from Puerto Princesa to Clark. The last flight out of Puerto Princesa was on March 17, 2020.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.