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Bleak future seen for Philippine aviation sector —CAB

The outlook for the country’s aviation industry remains negative as global air travel will take time to recover from the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil Aeronautics Board said Thursday.

“The outlook is still quite bleak. Overall, ang alam naman natin na dahilan nito ay pandemiya,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said in a virtual press briefing.

The CAB chief cited the projections of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that for this year, air passenger volume won’t even reach half of what was recorded in 2019 at 4.53 billion air travelers.

“Sabi ng ICAO, palawak nang palawak ang period of recovery eh sabi [dati] one year, two years... ngayon four years na ang projected period of recovery,” Arcilla said.

“Ang Pilipinas ay isa sa mga severely affected ng decline in aviation. Year-on-year, monthly figures ay talagang napakababa,” he said.

From June 1 to August 31, 2019, there were 47,224 flights that flew from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Pero nitong, the same period for this year nasa 800 lamang. That’s not even 2%,” he said.

Among the challenges being faced by the global aviation industry are economic downturn resulting from the pandemic as well as reduced air passenger confidence, the CAB chief said.

“Halos lahat ng bansa sa buong mundo nag -impose ng kaniya-kaniyang restrictions, wala pa pong universal o multilateral health protocol na pinatutupad sa buong mundo kasi iba-iba ang hazard level ng mga bansa,” Arcilla said.

He also said that 32 airports in the country are operational while 17 are still closed.

The CAB chief also reiterated that only “essential travel” are allowed.

“Sa international sector, ang international outbound flights are only available for essential travel for Filipinos, foreign nationals na uuwi, OFWs, permanent visa holders, students na nagaaral sa ibang bansa, subject sa restrictions ng bansang pupuntahan,” Arcilla said.

“International inbound naman, open sa Filipinos na uuwi, foreign spouses ng Filipinos, parents, minors, children, accredited officials, foreign airline crew, foreign seafarers, foreign nationals with long-term Philippine visa, subject to IATF, Bureau of Immigration,  and Bureau of Quarantine requirements,” he added.

Domestic travel is also only for essential travelers such as those returning to their home provinces. —LBG, GMA News