36-year old Teodie Gutigulao, a second assistant engineer on a cargo ship and also a first-time dad was among a group of 80 Filipino seafarers who were flown back to the country on September 8, 2020 on a special chartered flight Z2 113 by AirAsia Philippines in partnership with Regent Travel Corporation.
This special chartered flight was also in close coordination with the Local Manning Agencies, Philippine Embassy-New Delhi under the leadership of H.E. Amb. Ramon Bagatsing Jr., DFA-Manila (OUMWA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP-Manila).
Teodie’s journey to home started at Ahmedabad International Airport in India along with other Filipino seafarers. His nine-month contract was supposed to end April of this year but because of the health restrictions brought by the pandemic, they had to wait for another five months at sea.
“When we found out that our flight back to the Philippines was being arranged, I felt excited. I couldn’t wait to see my wife Beverly and firstborn son, Theo. My wife was pregnant when I left,” said first-time dad, Teodie, a native of Buhangin, Davao city.
Teodie shared the importance of following the safety protocols in air travel. He particularly mentioned that the AirAsia crew observed the strictest measures throughout the check-in, boarding, inflight and disembarkation process.
Teodie said, “The mere sight of the aircraft gave us hope. Soon we will be able to reunite with our families, whom we miss so much. For this, we thank our agency, the government authorities of India and the Philippines and AirAsia for flying us back home safely.“
This is the fourth batch of OFW’s flown by AirAsia from India to the Philippines. In July, it successfully marked its longest 14-hour flight from Gujarat, India to Manila with 125 repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) onboard.
To date, AirAsia Philippines has mounted 644 chartered repatriation and sweeper flights, bringing home nearly 50,000 OFW’s safely.
AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said, “AirAsia takes pride in joining all our government and private sector partners to bring home all stranded Filipinos in different parts of the world. We are very happy for first-time dad, Teodie because very soon he will have the chance to see and hug his wife and son. We would like to assure him and all other OFW’s that we will always take the extra mile to provide them with safe, efficient, affordable and allstar flying experience amid the pandemic.”
Apart from bringing home our modern day heroes, over 800,000 kilograms of cargo containing essential goods, food and medicines have been transported to both international and domestic destinations.