PAL expects 2-digit growth in passenger volume


By Louella Desiderio | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Airlines (PAL) expects double-digit growth in passenger volume next year from around 15 million passengers this year amid growing demand for both domestic and international travel.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista told reporters the flag carrier sees double-digit growth in passenger volume next year given rising demand for both domestic and international travel.

The carrier expects to carry around 15 million passengers this year.

“Next year, we’re expecting to have maybe 16.5 to 17 million passengers,” Bautista said.

Last year, PAL carried 13.4 million passengers, up 12.6 percent from the 11.9 million passengers served in 2015.

Bautista said PAL expects next year to be another good year in terms of growth in passenger volume as the Asia Pacific region has been identified as a huge growth area for flying customers.

According to the International Air Transport Association which groups 275 carriers representing 83 percent of global air traffic, Asia Pacific would be the biggest driver of demand for travel as the region would be the source of more than half of new passengers over the next two decades.

Bautista said PAL also expects to benefit from higher tourist arrivals, particularly from the Chinese market.

Last year, the country saw a 37.7 percent year-on-year increase in Chinese visitor arrivals to 675,663 following President Duterte’s state visit to China and the lifting of Beijing’s travel restriction against the Philippines.

More Chinese tourists are expected to visit the country as it implements the visitor upon arrival program.

In particular, the Philippines expects Chinese tourist arrivals to hit the one million mark this year.

“In PAL, we are operating charter flights from many cities, not the regular cities where we operate, but secondary cities in China. We fly passengers to Kalibo, Cebu, Puerto Princesa and we’re hoping that this will continue. We’re receiving a lot of queries about possible more charter flights from different cities in China and we are crossing our fingers. We hope the demand will continue to grow from China,” Bautista said.

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