By: Olkeriil Ngirudelsang
Flights between Palau and Taiwan have been suspended due to covid outbreak in Taiwan but flights between Guam and Palau are picking up more local passengers.
According to Bureau of Aviation, there will be flights coming into Palau on May 30 and June 10 from Guam. “The flight will be carrying to Palau 156 passengers and it is actually overbooked” shared quarantine certificate coordinator Mr. Olkeriil Kazuo. He further revealed that those who will not be on the May 30th flight will travel to Palau on the June 10th flight. In a phone interview, Mr. Kazuo stated that “he is sometimes processing requests of up to 40 people a day wanting to come to Palau”.
In an announcement put out by the Bureau of Aviation on may 24th, other flights are still suspended, however, the Malaysian Airlines on May 28 and Tiger Air on May 29 will be traveling to Palau ferry-in, live-out; meaning that the planes will be empty on their arrival but will leave the island with passengers. As has been practiced, Asia Pacific Airlines will remain flying to Palau once a week carrying mail and cargo every Thursday.
As for flights from Taiwan to Palau, “there is no certain date of the next flight from Taiwan” according to Joseph from the Palau based China Airlines office. It was also announced by the bureau of Aviation that “Travel Bubble open with care-suspended until June, 2021”. President Whipps shared at the last press conference that if Taiwan’s covid situation is taken under control, the sterile corridor will possibly open again on June 15.
Currently, there are 10 patients, escorts and other travelers who are waiting to return to Palau but are now stuck in Taiwan. As previously reported, one young Palau woman who was traveling from the states to Palau via Taiwan told Island Times that she has spent more than 5,000 dollars for her airline ticket and quarantine cost. She further shared that she is running out of money in Taiwan while awaiting flights to Palau. Furthermore, an interview with some Palauan students in Taiwan revealed that some of them will be having their online graduation due to the covid-19 outbreak in the coming days; they will most likely join the list of Palauans stuck in Taiwan awaiting a flight to come back home.