Airport upgrades needed with sharp rise in passenger traffic expected by 2027

AIRPORTS need to be modernized to service the projected spike in passenger traffic by 2027 relative to their pre-pandemic levels, participants at a Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) webinar said.

PIDS Research Fellow Kris A. Francisco and Research Analyst Valerie Lim cited projections for 88.3 million passengers by 2027, against passenger traffic of 49.1 million in 2019.

Citing the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Department of Tourism, PIDS noted that the tourism industry accounts for 13.6% of all jobs and 12.8% of gross value added in the overall economy.

Cebu Pacific Chief Strategy Officer Jose Alejandro B. Reyes said at the webinar: “Air transport is an important enabler of other industries such as tourism. Given our stage of economic development, having a robust tourism industry and an efficient air transport infrastructure is a great match.”

Enrico L. Basilio, an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance, said the government needs to be more aggressive in negotiating air service agreements (ASAs) while also addressing the infrastructure needs of greater air access.

“If you negotiate for more ASAs, you will have more seats for passengers, leading to greater pressure on your existing airport infrastructure,” Mr. Basilio said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile