CAAP: 42 airports ready for holidays

Rudy Santos - The Philippine Star
CAAP: 42 airports ready for holidays
This undated file photo shows scenes around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and its 42 commercial operating airports in the country are ready for the holiday rush, going on high alert in anticipation of the increase in passenger volume during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said CAAP officials have coordinated with airline operators and concerned government agencies operating at the airports, including the Office of Transportation Security and the Philippine National Police - Aviation Security Group to add security personnel in anticipation of the expected surge in passenger traffic.

Aside from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Clark International Airport, Davao International Airport and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, added security measures and deployment of service and security personnel are being observed in CAAP airports with commercial flights to ensure safe, reliable and convenient airport operations as returning overseas Filipinos, civilians and tourists travel for the holiday season.

Due to travel bans imposed in the last two years brought by COVID-19, the CAAP-operated airports reported that it has seen trends of pent-up demand for tourism this year.

In 2019, CAAP airports welcomed a total 29,258,258 passengers, of whom 2,537,774 travelled during the month of December.

In 2020, a significant decrease was seen, as only 6,659,113 passengers travelled from January to December, with only 245,141 passengers travelling in December 2020.

Last year, passenger volume reached 1,007,842 in December, while 5,136,075 passengers were recorded through 2021.

So far this year, around 16 million passengers traveled in CAAP airports from January to October alone, and more are expected to travel during the holiday rush.

Based on pre-pandemic historical data, an estimated seven to 10 percent increase in the number of passengers is expected annually; and with the current easing of travel restrictions, CAAP is optimistically preparing for a surge in the demand for travel.

Philippine Airlines spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said yesterday that trans-Pacific flights are fully booked to the US mainland, Canada, Middle East and some parts of Asia, excluding China which reportedly is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“We are now 90 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, and almost 100 percent capacity as travel restrictions are eased in our country and other parts of the world, except China,” Villaluna added.

Cebu Pacific said they are mounting additional flights as the holiday season approaches.

AirAsia Philippines spokesman and Corporate Communications head Carlo Carongoy said that December 2022 is projected at 90 percent load factor versus 89 percent of 2019 for domestic; for international, the December target is 80 percent, versus 90 percent in 2019.

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