Gov’t defers airport fees for local airlines amid travel slump, virus woes
MANILA, Philippines – Aviation authorities will defer the collection of fees from local carriers to help them cushion the severe impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID 2019) to the airline industry.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Monday said they would delay the collection of payment for take-off, landing, parking and tacking for local carriers in the country’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), and 40 other airports in the country.
While there is no official order yet, CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco said the scheme would be effective as soon as possible and would last “for a year or as long as there is threat of COVID-19.”
The order Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Philippines AirAsia, as well as several other local carriers.
The airlines would have to pay the deferred fees within a year once the COVID-19 threat is lifted.
Once the directive is implemented, the government agencies would not be collecting airport fees of up to P95 million each month – P58 million a month in Naia alone, and P37 million a month for the other airports under CAAP.
The move is an initiative of the Department of Transportation.
“We are in a situation that is not of our own liking nor of our own making. There is an emergency. Can the government not do things that can assuage the emergency? We need to extend our arm to all. Let it not be said that we did not do a thing,” Transportation Secretary Tugade said in a statement.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in late January, airlines all over the world have been hit by low passenger volume and canceled bookings.
In the country, Sydiongco said there was a 20 to 30 percent drop in passengers for both domestic and international flights.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said passenger volume at Naia in February 2020 dropped by 25 percent compared to the passenger volume the month before (2 million) at the country’s busiest airport.
Local aviation authorities were still crunching figures on the impact of COVID-19, but in a report last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projected global revenue losses of up to US$113 billion in the airline industry alone.
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