PhilippineAirlines: PAL to fly Japan relief aid for free

MANILA – Philippine Airlines announced today (17 March 2011) that it is accepting disaster relief supplies for free transport to Japan on space-available basis on any of its regular flights to the calamity-battered nation.
On instructions of PAL Chairman and CEO Dr. Lucio Tan, PAL president Jaime J. Bautista directed all stations throughout the flag carrier’s network of 20 domestic and 25 international points to stand ready to accept emergency cargo shipments bound for Japan.

“This is part of our modest contribution to the international relief effort for the survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami,” said Bautista. “Japan is one of our most important markets and this is but a small way of giving back to the affected communities.”

PAL will give priority to shipments organized by accredited charities, non-profit organizations and reputable civic groups. For inquiries and other information regarding donations for transport, interested parties may contact Ma. Carmen Aquino Sarmiento Executive Director of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Foundation through mobile number +63917-5137259; (632) 851-2980; (632) 855-8000 ext. 2563; fax: (632) 852-6096 or visit the PAL Foundation offices at Gate 1, PAL Maintenance Base Complex, Andrews Avenue, Nichols, Pasay City.
The donated cargo will be delivered to counterpart charity organizations in Japan.  Shipments may also be consigned to PAL’s country manager in Japan, for distribution through PAL offices in the country.
Specific items eligible for free transport include, in order of priority:
  • Medicines for both pediatric and adult use, such as antipyretics, analgesics, cough and cold preparations, broad-spectrum antibiotics, topical ointments, various sizes of wound dressings and adhesive plasters or bandages, splints, sutures, and general surgery supplies.
  • Flashlights and heavy-duty pocket knives, ropes for extrication and similar rescue devices.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • Waterproof lightweight tents, sleeping mats and folding camp stoves, but without the LPG or flammable material.
  • Dense or compact high-nutrition-value food items, such as powdered milk or formula, dried beans and other legumes, canned meat or fish, dehydrated ready-to-eat meals, sugar or sugar substitutes, coffee, and wheat flour.  (Note: Instant noodles are not a high-nutrition-value food item and are discouraged.)
  • Lightweight thermal blankets, windbreakers, sweaters and thick socks in good condition.
  • New underwear, preferably thermal, for all ages and genders.
Shippers are advised to remove excess packaging in order to save on weight and space.

On the other hand, items that do not qualify for free passage under PAL’s offer are water and rice, which can be shipped more efficiently and economically via other modes of transport; used clothing and shoes for tropical climate; and handbags and fashion accessories.

PAL’s gesture of support for the Japan relief effort comes as the pioneer flag carrier marks its 70th anniversary.  PAL took to the skies on March 15, 1941 and is recognized as Asia’s first airline.

In August 1951, PAL assisted in the organization of Japan Airlines by providing a Douglas DC-3 to serve as JAL’s first aircraft.  It also lent pilots and staff to train the Japanese carrier’s flight attendants and other personnel.
Today, PAL is the largest carrier operating between the Philippines and Japan, with 32 flights weekly between six points – daily from Manila to Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, fives times weekly to Fukuoka, and six times weekly from Cebu to Tokyo.