China-Philippines air traffic still falling
Air traffic between China and the Philippines continued to fall despite the recent easing of territorial dispute-related tensions between Beijing and Manila.
A report by research group Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa), which was released last week, estimated that airline passenger capacity between China and the Philippines would be down by 17 percent in October and 11 percent in November from year-ago levels.
The reduction in capacity is expected to worsen in December, with the number of available seats between the two countries seen going down by 18 percent from year-ago level.
This was based on the scheduled flights of the airlines that fly from China to the Philippines and vice versa.
“The capacity between China and the Philippines has been reduced as a result of the issuance by China of a travel warning to the Philippines, and travel agencies subsequently not selling the country,” Capa said in its report.
In May, the China National Tourism Organization announced the travel suspension amid the ongoing dispute over the Scarborough Shoal, which is believed to be sitting on top of huge oil reserves that both states want to tap.
Capa said the effect that political tensions have had on the Philippine aviation sector had been more significant, considering that the dispute between the two countries was just a blip on the radar for China, which is also dealing with a similar territorial dispute with Japan.
Capa said the dispute between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal “has gone largely unnoticed with each nation’s general public, let alone the international community.”
Capa said the China-Philippines market would see little change until China lifted the travel warning.
“The more substantial effect of the China-Philippines dispute (proportionally) compared to the dispute between China and Japan is a reminder that more prominent expressions of public sentiment and attention do not always correspond to a deeper situation,” Capa said.
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