32 °C Manila, PH
May 24, 2024

DOT witnesses surge in inbound flights and domestic air routes

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Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco shared positive developments in air connectivity benefiting Philippine tourism, aligning with the Marcos administration’s focus on developing the country’s tourism industry.

During listening tours with stakeholders, connectivity and gateway access emerged as urgent concerns. In response, the Department of Tourism (DOT) collaborated with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and other aviation stakeholders to promote seamless travel, improve infrastructure, and maximize aviation hubs. Key international aviation networking events were utilized to showcase the country’s tourism destinations and gateways.

Secretary Frasco emphasized their commitment to increasing flights and accessibility for foreign and domestic tourists.

We express our sincerest gratitude to DOTr Secretary Bautista, and the CAAP led by Captain Manuel Tamayo, and all our partners in the aviation industry including our airlines, who have responded to the needs of our tourists and traveling public through the resumption of flights that were halted due to the pandemic, as well as the institution new flights to reinvigorate the country’s tourism industry,” she said.

More inbound flights

The DOT’s Routes Development report for June 2023 showed significant growth in incoming frequencies and seats per week at eight international gateways. For example, Clark saw a 180% increase in incoming frequencies and 215% in incoming seats, while Manila experienced a 75% increase in frequencies and 120% in seats compared to June 2022. Similar positive trends were observed in Kalibo (+640% frequencies, +409% seats), Cebu,(+300% frequencies, +297% seats), Bohol (+20% frequencies, +128% seats), and Davao +50% frequencies, +39% seats). Meanwhile, Caticlan and Cagayan North recorded six frequencies from Taipei, and two frequencies from Macau, respectively.

Between June and July 2023, the country welcomed new incoming weekly frequencies from various cities into its international gateways: Manila (7 Zip Air  from Tokyo, and 2 Air China flights from Chengdu); Cebu (7 China Eastern Airlines flights from Shanghai, 4 Philippine Air Asia flights from Tokyo,  2 Cebu Pacific from Taipei, and an increase from 5 to 7 Asiana Airlines flights from Incheon); Bohol (2 Asiana Airlines and 7 Air Busan flights from Seoul), Kalibo (3 flights from Hangzhou, 3 flights from Ningbo, and 3 flights from Wenzhou via Loong Air, 4 Ok Airways from Chengdu, and 2 TigerAir Taiwan from Taipei), Clark (7 Asiana Airlines flights from Seoul), Caticlan (3 Royal Airways flights from Hong Kong), and Cagayan North (2 Royal Airway flights from Macau). 

The DOT also welcomed charter flights that support the country’s destinations.

Increase in domestic connectivity 

Domestic connectivity also improved, with 17 city pairs gaining from approximately 83 incoming weekly frequencies launched between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. New domestic air routes were introduced, such as Cebu-Baguio, Cebu-Borongan, and Cebu-Naga, alongside the resumption of various domestic flights.

Among the domestic flights that resumed in the same period include: Clark to Bacolod, Busuanga, Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Davao, Iloilo, General Santos, and Puerto Princesa and vice versa; Manila to Tablas, and Lal-o (v.v.); Davao to Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, and Siargao, and vice versa; and Zamboanga to Cotabato (v.v.).

The DOT’s Philippine Experience Program and regional travel expos is seen and aimed to further improve connectivity and cater to the growing demands of travelers.

Furthermore, the DOT expressed excitement about United Airlines’ plan to introduce nonstop flights between Manila and San Francisco, starting 29 October. Adding to the carrier’s existing service to Manila from Guam and Palau, the new flight will operate daily on a Boeing 777-300ER, the airline’s largest airplane.

This expansion marks United Airlines as the first American carrier to fly direct to Manila from continental US in a long while.


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