Travel plans for Manila Jan 15-19? Check your flights!

If your travel plans include flights in or out of Manila’s NAIA airport (MNL) between January 15 – 19, 2015, you should check your flights with the airline: The pope is visiting and authorities are severely restricting flights during that time.

You thought President Obama’s is attracting large crowds and his travel is inconveniencing regular travelers? Well, he’s got nothing on the Pope. Pope Francis is the second pope to visit the Philippines, a deeply Catholic country. After a mass held by Pope John Paul II in 1995 attracted a crowd of 3 million faithful, they are expecting 6 million people (!!) to attend a mass with Pope Francis to be held in Rizal Park. In a country that celebrates Christmas for 4 months and shuts down for Easter, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this visit is a big deal and the authorities are not taking any chances. During the visit, there will be road closures and airplane movements will be restricted for certain periods. There will be no flights arriving at all NAIA terminals on January 15th between 2:00pm-7:00pm and on January 19th between 6:00am – 10:30am. The airlines will have to reschedule their flights and I’d expect that to have an impact on travel during the whole period. As always in South East Asia, plans will be “fluid” and I recommend to check your flight information frequently prior all the way to check-in! Also, traffic is pretty bad on a regular day around the airport, due to a massive road construction project, so you should allow ample time for the drive to the airport, as well as for check-in and security. As always, wishing you safe travels…


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