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Philippine passenger traffic shrinks further in 2021

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
Philippine passenger traffic shrinks further in 2021
Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed total passenger traffic in the country plummeted by 41 percent last year to 7.72 million.
Rudy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s air travel saw further decimation last year, with passenger traffic shrinking by nearly half amid sustained domestic and international travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed total passenger traffic in the country plummeted by 41 percent last year to 7.72 million.

In comparison, passenger traffic in the country was 60.06 million in 2019 or before the pandemic disrupted the aviation industry.

Domestic passenger traffic reached 5.53 million last year, 20 percent lower from the the 6.89 million recorded in 2020.

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific and unit CebGo carried the most number of domestic passengers last year with 2.94 million, followed by Philippine Airlines and PAL Express with 1.85 million, and Philippines AirAsia Inc. with 713,409.

With tight border restrictions in place, international passenger traffic fell by 65 percent to 2.19 million from 6.25 million the previous year.

Domestic carriers accounted for 925,007 of the international passenger traffic, while the other 1.27 million passengers were carried by foreign airlines.

PAL flew 786,001 international passengers, while Cebu Pacific carried 115,909 passengers.

Local airlines saw a slight recovery in the fourth quarter of last year as restrictions in the country were eased.

“Overall, while 2021 will be remembered as one of the most challenging years for the region’s airlines, it has also demonstrated the industry’s extraordinary resilience as airlines continue to play a vital role in connecting people and transporting essential goods across the world,” Association of Asia Pacific Airlines director general Subhas Menon said.

“For meaningful recovery to take place, border restrictions would need to be eased on a consistent basis, and the current multilayered travel requirements streamlined and simplified for travellers. Collaboration among aviation stakeholders and governments is key to the safe and sustained resumption of air travel,” Menon said.

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