Aviation regulators said Monday they are deferring certain airport charges on local airlines after the industry’s operations were heavily hit by the coronavirus disease 2019.
Manila International Airport Authority general manager Ed Monreal said the government decided to defer the collection of landing, take-off and parking fees because of COVID-19.
Monreal said MIAA collected about P58 million a month from the collection of landing, take-off and parking fees from local carriers.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which manages secondary airports in the provinces, collected some P13 million a month from local airlines.
Monreal said the deferment of airport fees aimed to help local airlines cushion the impact of COVID-19.
“This is a welcome development as it provides a temporary financial reprieve for the company. We thank the government for this gesture of support,” said PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna.
Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the airlines were being hit heavily by the COVID-19 in terms of low passenger traffic all over the world.
Monreal said passenger traffic at NAIA declined by 30 percent, while flight frequency fell 25 percent in February.
The country’s domestic passenger traffic reached 29.53 million in 2019 from 27.28 million in 2018.
International passenger traffic also increased to 30.52 million last year from 26.85 million a year earlier.
The Philippine government urged local airlines to expand and offer packages to spur the domestic tourism and soften the impact of COVID-19 on the airline and tourism industry.
The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said COVID-19 could cut tourist arrivals by 1.4 million if the situation would last until June. Some tourism 50,000 jobs were expected to be lost.
The International l Air Transport Association said passenger revenue losses from global airlines could hit $63 billion in a scenario where COVID-19 would be contained in current markets with over 100 cases as of March 2 and up to $113 billion in a scenario with a broader spread of the virus.