Wed, 05 Oct 2022

MANILA - The country's domestic travel recovery is now close to 100 percent, and airlines are ready for the pent-up demand, according to Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla on Friday.

In a public briefing, he said international recovery is at about 70 percent, which is still quite good. Pent-up travel is there, but there are still markets that are yet to open, he added.

"China is an example because of its zero (coronavirus disease 2019) policy. There used to be more than 100 flights per week between the Philippines and China. Now there are only six flights between the two countries," Arcilla said.

China, he said, is the Philippines' main market, with about 1.2 million to 1.3 million Chinese entering the country in 2019.

Other recovering markets are Singapore, the USA, and the Middle East, which heavily contribute to the country's labor market. Turkey is another recovering market since it is a hub for flights going to Europe, where the country also deploys workers, he added.

"The unpredictability of markets hinders airline companies from fully lessening the airfare. Because if the demand is predictable, the aircraft becomes full," Arcilla said.

He, however, pointed out that the airlines have been ready for a peak in travel.

"Ngayon kung makikita ninyo sa mga balita sa ibang bansa nagkakagulo sila - cancelled, delayed -- dahil hindi nasabayan ng mga airport sa ibang bansa at ng mga airlines iyong balik ng pasahero. Awa ng Diyos dito naman sa atin, nakahanda ang mga airlines natin. (If you've seen in the news, there were chaos in other countries due to canceled and delayed flights. Some airports abroad were not prepared for the passenger influx. By God's grace, our airlines are prepared," he said.

While he acknowledged that the country also had many flight cancellations, Arcilla said the situation was not as bad compared to others.

"Hindi matugunan ng airports at mga airlines iyong surge ng pasahero dahil hindi nila akalaing ganiyan, na magri-rebound. (Some airports and airlines were not able to handle the passenger surge because they did not expect the rebound in travel," he said.

Meanwhile, Arcilla said the public should not be reluctant to travel, since health protocols are in place.

Apart from relaxation, he said traveling is also important for the economy so that there would be consumer spending to help businesses and livelihood. (PNA)

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