Establishment of “Essential Air Service” order does not necessarily mean that people will start flying to Palau.
With COVID-19 cases resurging around the world and especially in Guam and Hawaii and US mainland, many are fearful of the Executive Order to establish essential air service to and from Palau. Posts including an online petition on social media push for recall of the directive.
President Remengesau explained that the establishment of the Directive doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen regardless. “It’s a two-way street. We cannot make this decision on our own,” he said. Airlines have to decide whether it is economically feasible to fly and there are also quarantine considerations.
According to Remengesau, people wanting to travel have to considered whether it is worth travelling because they still have to undergo quarantine outside of Palau, 2 tests prior to boarding and additional quarantine and testing upon arrival in Palau. There is also a question on when they can return back home and also the quarantine requirements at their home destinations.
In addition, no airline has shown interest. Minister of MPIIC Charles Obichang said that there is an airline with application pending but it is also considering the quarantine issues and have not expressed interest in essential air service.
Remengesau reiterated that Palau cannot stay still or go backward, that it should plan and move forward, despite potentially no real regular “essential air service” taking off anytime soon.

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