The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has placed 42 commercial airports in the country under high alert in anticipation of the increasing numbers of air travelers this holiday season.
CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said the agency has coordinated with airline operators and concerned government offices operating at the airports, including the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and the Police Aviation Security Group to augment additional personnel in anticipation of a surge in passenger traffic this Christmas break.
He said travelers are reminded not to bring prohibited items to the airport and to stow all belongings in one’s carry-on baggage for faster processing at the screening checkpoints.
“Added security measures and deployment of service and security personnel are being observed in the airports with commercial flights to ensure safe, reliable, and convenient airport operations as returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), civilians, and tourists travel for the holiday season,” Apolonio said.
Due to travel bans imposed in the last two years brought by COVID-19, the CAAP operated airports reported that it has seen trends of pent-up demand for tourism this year.
In 2019, CAAP airports recorded a total 29,258,258 passengers from January to December 2019, with 2,537,774 passengers who traveled during the month of December.
The next year, a significant decrease was seen, as only 6,659,113 passengers traveled the whole year, with only 245,141 passengers traveling in December.
In 2021, passenger volume reached 1,007,842 in December, while 5,136,075 passengers were recorded from January to December.
So far this year, around 16 million passengers traveled in CAAP airports from January to October alone, and more are expected to travel during the holiday rush.
Based on pre-pandemic historical data, an estimate of around 7% to 10% increase in the number of passengers is expected annually; and with the current easing of travel restrictions, CAAP is optimistically preparing for surge in the demand for travel.