Aviation industry off to a ‘dicey’ future — Transportation chief
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ aviation industry will face an unpredictable and potentially dangerous future due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Tuesday.
“The future of the aviation industry (in) one word: dicey. Kasi meron ho tayong kalaban na masyado maraming variables. Ni hindi natin nakikita itong punyeterong COVID na ito. Kaya talagang it’s really very dicey,” Tugade declared in a televised press briefing in Malacañang.
(The future of the aviation industry, one word, is dicey. Because we have an enemy with so many variables. We don’t even see this freaking COVID-19. So it’s really really dicey.)
The transport chief also claimed that there are “many airlines” around the world that are now declaring bankruptcy.
“But we are mandated locally that we protect and help assure the continued viability and operations of our all-local aviation partners,” he said, noting that the government has included assistance for the aviation industry in the proposed P1.3-trillion Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (Pesa).
Local carriers have suspended operations since mid-March after the government imposed a Luzon-wide lockdown to halt the spread of the viral illness. Major low-cost carriers also had to lay off workers and enforce pay cuts to mitigate the effects of the lockdown.
The local aviation industry took a bigger hit when the government suspended all domestic and international travel in and out of the Philippines.
After two months, local carriers are now gearing up to resume operations albeit in a limited capacity and in compliance with health and safety protocols, such as the physical distancing.
Earlier, the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) bared that the country’s airline industry stands to lose about $4.9 billion or about P250 billion until the end of the year due to the coronavirus crisis.
This is on top of the 25,000 to 500,000 jobs in the airline industry and other industries related to air travel that are also at stake.
Acap has been appealing for assistance under the proposed economic stimulus package via long term credit facility, working capital credit lines, credit guarantee arrangements, and temporary relief from navigational and airport charges.
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