The domestic air travel surged 116.5 percent in the first quarter from a year ago on the back of strong demand at the start of the dry season, according to the Civil Aeronautics Board.
Data from the CAB showed that passenger traffic from January to March reached 7.06 million, up from 3.26 million in the same period last year.
The Philippines lifted most travel restrictions in the first quarter to help in the economic recovery from the pandemic.
Cebu Pacific carried the most passengers with 3.2 million, followed by PAL Express with 1.6 million and AirAsia Philippines with 1.3 million.
Cebgo and Philippine Airlines flew 454,858 passengers and 359,387 passengers, respectively.
International passenger traffic, on the other hand, reached 3.8 million in the first quarter. It said of the total, domestic airlines carried 1.83 million international passengers, while foreign carriers flew 1.96 million.
PAL carried the most international passengers with 1.33 million, followed by Cebu Pacific with 230,895 passengers, Philippines AirAsia with 225,032 and Royal Air Charter Service with 41,767 passengers.
Meanwhile, domestic cargo traffic reached 59.01 million kilograms in the first quarter, led by Cebu Pacific with 21.77 million kg.
This was followed by PAL Express with 16.16 million kg., Philippine Airlines with 11.10 million kg., Philippine AirAsia with 7.56 million kg. and Cebgo with 401,628 kg.
Globally, the World Tourism Barometer of the United Nations World Tourism Organization showed that the sector’s swift recovery continued into 2023, with international arrivals reaching 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter.
Asia and the Pacific accelerated its recovery with 54 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter, but this upward trend was expected to accelerate now that most destinations, particularly China, have re-opened.
Some 235 million tourists travelled internationally in the first three months, or more than double the same period in 2022. In 2022, more than 960 million tourists travelled internationally, meaning 66 percent of pre-pandemic numbers were recovered.
International tourism receipts grew back to hit the $1-trillion mark in 2022, growing 50 percent in real terms compared to 2021, driven by the important rebound in international travel.
International visitor spending reached 64 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with Europe enjoying the best results with nearly $550 billion in tourism receipts or 87 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Because of the prolonged border shutdowns, Asian destinations earned about 28 percent.
The UNWTO’s panel of experts expressed confidence in a strong peak season in May to August in the Northern Hemisphere this year, reflected in the latest confidence index which indicates performance for the period is on track to be even better than 2022.