The Department of Foreign Affairs contracted Philippine Airlines to fly home Filipinos from San Juan, Puerto Rico, before it was devastated by super hurricane Irma.
In the evening of September 18, PAL flew a chartered Airbus A340 to bring home 132 Filipino workers and their families. The flight returned Sept. 20 carrying construction workers, accountants, medical professionals and other OFWs who lost their jobs after houses, offices, buildings and infrastructure were damaged by Irma’s powerful 295-kilometer-per hour winds.
Also on board were officials and personnel of the Philippine consulate in the Caribbean.
The evacuation flight made a refueling stop and change of crew at San Francisco.
Irma is considered the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005.
Irma was followed two weeks later by a similarly strong hurricane Maria. JONATHAN P. GESMUNDO