October 04, 2023
The government and industry leaders are optimistic about the country’s aviation sector’s full recovery through digitalization, investment in infrastructure and key legislative updates.
At the aviation summit hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) recently, Yuli Thompson, area manager for Southeast Asia of International Air Transport Association, said passenger traffic trends for international flights in the Philippines were logged at 75 percent of 2019 levels as of June 2023.
For Asia Pacific passenger forecast, Thompson said domestic travel will fully recover this year, while international travel recovery will occur sometime in 2026. Asia Pacific is seen to lead traffic growth in the next 20 years.
However, overcoming present challenges riding on the current momentum and meeting full recovery will require strong interventions from all players in the aviation sector.
Lei Apostol, Cebu Pacific vice president for customer service operations, said the airline encourages travel by ensuring positive customer experience which it aims to optimize across its operations.
“Overcoming industry complexities and challenges while maximizing growth opportunities is achievable by looking at existing technology, keeping the passenger at the heart of what we do, and communicating to our passengers at every step of their journey,” said Apostol.
Michael Szucs, Cebu Pacific chief executive officer, noted the need to invest in infrastructure, saying “Philippine carriers will need to quadruple in size to cater to growing demand” in the next 10 to 20 years.
In her keynote speech, Senator Grace Poe urged stakeholders to support necessary infrastructure investments, especially after the air system glitch incident earlier this year.
The senator called for the acquisition of a new Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) and the hiring of a third-party maintenance provider for the CNS/ATM system.
“It is my hope that the government, the private sector, and other stakeholders can work together and collaborate on air transport projects which will not only generate economic growth, but also provide our people with excellent and affordable public services that can improve the quality of life for all,” said Poe.
She also filed Senate Bill 1121 for the creation of a Philippine Transportation Safety Board.
In his closing remarks, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista stressed the agency’s goal to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport through a public-private partnership agreement which will present a “landmark opportunity for economic growth, improved infrastructure, and a world-class travel experience.”
“We are also developing regional airports, such as the unsolicited proposals for the operations and maintenance of the Bicol International Airport, Bohol-Panglao International Airport, and Laguindingan Airport,” said Bautista.
DOTr also highlighted the support of various aviation stakeholders and the Department of Energy and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on the use of sustainable aviation fuel by 2025.
The aviation summit is one of ECCP’s biggest flagship advocacy events organized with its aviation committee, and currently stands as the largest gathering of the aviation industry in the country.
The event had more than 400 participants, including representatives from government officials as well as experts and leaders hailing from aviation industry businesses and organizations.