Dubai flights to Cebu cancelled as Philippines airport closes in Typhoon Rai

A flight from Manila to Dubai has also been cancelled

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Mactan-Cebu International Airport has closed owing to severe weather caused by Typhoon Rai.

Damage at the airport sustained in the typhoon is being assessed and the first international flight will be allowed to land at 6am on Tuesday, according to an advisory sent to The National from Cebu Pacific.

Tens of thousands of people in the Philippines fled their homes and beachfront resorts as a powerful typhoon lashed the archipelago.

At least 21 people have been killed, officials said on Saturday.

Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette, was driven by powerful winds as it barrelled towards central and southern regions of the vast archipelago, the state weather agency said.

The airport in Cebu experienced damages, as seen in photos posted on social media.

“At 6:52pm of Dec 16, 2021, airport operations have been suspended until further notice due to the damage caused by Typhoon Odette (Rai),” read a GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation advisory.

"Passenger and employee safety remain our no 1 priority."

It said flights are also cancelled "until further notice".

"We are closely coordinating with the different government agencies and airline partners regarding announcements on the resumption of flights. We urge all passengers to stay at home until the resumption of flights are announced."

UAE flights to Cebu and Manila cancelled

"The Mactan Cebu International Airport is in the process of restoring regular services after sustaining damage in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Odette," read an advisory from Cebu Pacific.

"First international flight will be allowed to land at 6am on December 21, subject to change. Only 600 international arriving passengers per day will be allowed from December 21 to 25. Starting December 26, the quota will be raised to 850 per day."

In the UAE, the Philippines airline has had to cancel two flights to Cebu that were scheduled to depart from Dubai on Sunday and Monday. It also cancelled a flight from Cebu to Manila on Tuesday.

"Operations at Puerto Princesa International Airport remain suspended to give authorities enough time to assess damage and to make the necessary repairs to ensure safety of operations," the statement read.

The airline cancelled three flights scheduled on Sunday to Manila and has had to cancel Flight 5J 014 from Manila to Dubai on Monday "due to operational limitations".

Cebu Pacific said travellers can rebook flights within 60 days at no additional cost and the fare difference would be waived. If travellers wish to store the amount in a virtual wallet, they can do so for two years and use the money to pay for a new flight or travel add-ons. Refunds are also available, but the process may take up to two months from the date of request.

Emirates airline also had to cancel a stop in Cebu.

“Due to adverse weather and the temporary closure of Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Emirates flight EK 338 on December 18, which was scheduled to operate from Dubai to Clark via Cebu, did not stop in Cebu and operated directly to Clark," a representative told The National.

"Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused."

The Dubai airline advised that any affected customers contact their booking agents for options to rebook.

Etihad Airways, the UAE's national airline, does not fly to Cebu and a representative told The National that all of its other Philippines flights remain unaffected.

Updated: December 18, 2021, 11:45 AM