Beijing-Manila air traffic dropsBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Air traffic between China and the Philippines has dipped to a two-year low due to a recently imposed travel ban that arose from a territorial dispute over islands in the West Philippine Sea.
In a study conducted by the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa), tensions between China and its neighbors like the Philippines and Japan could also lead to instability and threaten the region’s growth prospects.
“Traffic is falling between China and Japan, as well as China and the Philippines, as a result of China’s dispute with those nations over tiny and largely uninhabited islands,” a Capa report released Saturday said.
The situation in Japan follows a wave of anti-Japanese protests and sentiment, Capa said, resulting in some Japanese passengers canceling tickets over safety concerns while Chinese passengers cancel tickets as a mark of nationalism.
Capa said the dispute with the Philippines was a mere blip on China’s public radar, and would therefore be easier to remedy.
“The Philippines has been hurt from a Beijing-imposed travel ban that has resulted in scores of tour agencies, which carry most Chinese tourists, canceling trips,” Capa said.
There are currently about 11,000 one-way scheduled seats per week in the Philippine-China market—down about 15 percent from May 2012 when China first issued its warning against traveling to Manila following a naval standoff with the Philippines at the Scarborough Shoal.
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