To help ease the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the aviation sector, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will defer local carriers’ payment for parking, landing, and take-off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and all CAAP-operated airports.
In a press conference Monday, aviation officials said airlines are dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 scare, and thus they are trying to at least help them minimize their expenses for now.
“We are facing very severe challenges at this point. The impact (of Covid-19) on the aviation industry is becoming more intense,” Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.
Until the threat of Covid-19 is present, MIAA and CAAP will defer the airlines’ fees.
“We are looking at a timeline of one year, or until there is Covid-19 threat, and also up to one year after for them (airlines) to pay,” CAAP director Jim Sydiongco said.
MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said they are getting an estimate of PHP58 million a month from both local and foreign carriers for the parking, landing, and take-off fees.
Deferring the payment would help in the airlines’ expenses as many people are either canceling or rebooking their flights, Monreal and Sydiongco said.
“Even if for instance, Covid-19 would be gone tomorrow, the situation (for the industry to recover) would still depend on the confidence of the riding public,” Monreal added.
He urged airlines to open new routes to help boost tourism.
“We have slots here at the NAIA that they could use to increase frequencies where needed. I encourage them to open routes where they could fly,” he said.
Arcilla said opening new destinations would not just support tourism, but also help augment the airlines’ income.
At the NAIA alone, Monreal said the number of passengers dropped to 30 percent in February compared to same period last year.
There was a decline of about 476,000 passengers last month, he said.
Flight frequencies, arriving and departing combined, also decreased by 25 percent last month compared to February 2019, he added. (PNA)