Airlines need extension of waiver on airport fees
AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Ricardo Isla said they were preparing to ask the government to extend the waiver on airport fees and office rentals as the aviation sector’s recovery had stalled due to the contagious Delta variant.
Isla, who also represents the country’s major airlines as chair of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines, said they would make the request to the relevant government agencies in a meeting next week.
“That alone would be a big help to the airline companies,” Isla told reporters during an AirAsia Philippines briefing on Wednesday.
Local carriers were forced to stop accepting passengers traveling for leisure purposes until Aug. 20 after the government ordered stricter quarantine rules in Metro Manila and key hubs around the country due to rising COVID-19 infections.
Isla said AirAsia Philippines alone had canceled about 40 percent of its flights during this period, hurting ongoing efforts to generate revenue.
“If not for Delta, we could have implemented four roundtrips a day to Boracay,” Isla said.
The reduction of regulatory fees, alongside efforts to boost cargo revenues, would help them weather the loss of crucial passenger traffic, he explained.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines earlier waived fees for flights and parking under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which expired in end-June.
AirAsia Philippines is also taking a more cautions approach to reopening hubs and Isla said they wanted to see more widespread vaccinations against COVID-19.
AirAsia Philippines said about 70 percent of its employees were inoculated against COVID-19 and the budget carrier was targeting to fully vaccinate its workforce by the end of the year, AirAsia Philippines spokesperson Steve Dailisan said.
This was also meant to ease concerns of travelers with about 90 percent of passengers agreeing that a fully vaccinated flight crew would boost their confidence in flying, according to an AirAsia Philippines survey conducted last month.
“We are very pleased that our efforts of inoculating the whole AirAsia Philippines organization has gained the confidence among guests to travel again,” Dailisan said.
He also explained the carrier was currently developing a mobile app that would act as a vaccine passport. This would also help with COVID-19 testing verification given the proliferation of fake reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test results, Dailisan said. INQ
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