Airlines to seek fresh government aid next week


AIRLINES are hoping to meet with the government’s transport agencies next week to seek an extension of the waiver of airport fees as the aviation industry continues to struggle due to the pandemic and lockdowns, the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) said Wednesday.

“The government-backed guarantees were discussed as early as Bayanihan I, but (the matter remains) pending,” ACAP Chairman and Philippines AirAsia, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ricardo P. Isla said at an online briefing. He was referring to the first Bayanihan stimulus package passed last year.

“However, what we are now asking for is an extension of the waived airport fees and parking fees. That alone will be a big help to the airline companies,” he added.

Mr. Isla also said ACAP is due to meet by next week with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the Manila International Airport Authority.

He noted that some airport tenants are also asking for rent relief.

“The parking and runway fees that we pay the airports — I think these are the basics that we can ask for right now,” he added.

Philippines AirAsia officials presented during the briefing the results of its survey conducted on July 23, 24, 27 and 28 involving 1,600 guests flying out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to destinations like Bohol, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Davao.

The low-cost carrier said 91.4% of the respondents agreed that having a fully vaccinated crew gives them confidence to travel by air.

“As of August 2, 2021, 67% of the 1,500 Filipino (AirAsia employees) have received their COVID-19 shots. With the threat of the Delta variant, AirAsia Philippines is proactively campaigning to inoculate its entire workforce within the year,” the company said in a statement.

“Meanwhile, 729 guests or 45.5% claimed to have been vaccinated; 410 of whom were fully vaccinated or were traveling two weeks after receiving their second dose; 190 received their first dose; and 120 claimed to have gotten their second dose,” it added. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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