Local airlines suffer huge losses in Q3
Roberto Lim, executive director and vice chairman of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), told The STAR that the estimated number of flights operated by local airlines during the July to September period was only somewhere from 12 to 14 percent of pre-COVID levels.
AFP/File
Local airlines suffer huge losses in Q3
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Losses of local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippines remained huge in the third quarter on the back of travel restrictions and stringent requirements.

Roberto Lim, executive director and vice chairman of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), told The STAR that the estimated number of flights operated by local airlines during the July to September period was only somewhere from 12 to 14 percent of pre-COVID levels.

“The losses is still very large and performance will not be different from the second quarter since foreign markets remain close, and Filipino non-essential travel abroad was prohibited,” Lim said.

“Local government units have a lot of restrictions on local travel and some are still basically closed. In contrast, our Asian neighbors’ domestic air travel is from 30 to 60 percent already,” he said.

ACAP is composed of PAL, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippines.

Losses of the three airlines have reached around P20 billion in the second quarter, when most commercial flights were still non-existent.

During the said period, the country’s carriers flew around 800,000 passengers as compared to 13.5 million passengers flown in the same period last year.

Recently, however, the IATF has decided to lift restrictions on non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos. It also amended an earlier resolution requiring outbound travelers a negative antigen test result 24 hours before departure.

Easing of the restrictions on international outbound travel was seen as an opportunity to build passenger traffic and pave the way for the restart of the travel and tourism sector.

Lim, however, said the amended rules have no impact for the Filipino traveller visiting foreign countries that require a person to present negative result from PCR testing.

“For these destinations, antigen test was not really prescribed,” Lim said.

“For countries which do not require PCR testing like the USA, the amended IATF rules discarded the requirement for a person to undergo an antigen test, which is a surveillance tool and additional layer of protection that can help boost consumer travel confidence,” he said.

Lim earlier said that while the government has been very cooperative in the airlines’ requests, domestic carriers are still waiting for more support.

Airlines are also hoping that local governments would open up their cities to more flights and that domestic travel restrictions be eased as well.

AIRASIA CEBU PACIFIC PAL
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