Local airlines are expecting up to a 20% increase in the passenger traffic in Manila airports this Lent, the country’s first with relaxed restrictions after the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna, the number of passengers are expected to increase by 15% to 20%, similar to the growth recorded prior to the pandemic.
“’Yun ang peg ng (That is the peg of the) increase pre-pandemic and with revenge travel, we are hoping that we can have the same level or even more,” she said in a televised public briefing on Monday.
“Ito po ‘yung (This is the) first Holy Week after the pandemic period na (with) open na po ‘yung travel borders and there is an easing of travel restrictions,” she added.
Villaluna said PAL normally records 18,000 arrivals at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), and 6,700 at the Terminal 1.
Amid the extended weekend this Holy Week, Villaluna said PAL allows passengers to check in as early as six hours before their departure to avoid congestion in counters.
?The carrier has also increased frequencies in areas with high passenger traffic such as Caticlan in Aklan and Coron in Palawan, and from its Clark hub, and is now operating at 92% of its pre-pandemic capacity.
For its part, budget carrier Cebu Pacific said it is prepared for the expected surge in passengers, with its staff on call until Saturday, April 8.
“Inaasahan natin na dagsa ang mga pasahero ngayon at pinaghandaan po ito nang mabuti ng Cebu Pacific,” Cebu Pacific spokesperson Carmina Romero said in the same briefing.
“We are monitoring, we are prepared to answer passengers’ concerns, customer concerns, dahil po inaasahan na natin itong mabigat na daloy ng mga pasahero sa airport,” she said.
(We are expecting a surge of passengers and Cebu Pacific has prepared for this… We are monitoring, we are prepared to answer passengers’ concerns, customer concerns, because we expect a heavy inflow of passengers in the airport.)
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) last month called on air travelers to head to the NAIA four hours before international flights and two hours before domestic flights, as it expects 20,000 additional passengers this Holy Week.—AOL, GMA Integrated News