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CAAP airports on high alert for the holidays

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The 42 commercial operating airports under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) are now on high alert, in anticipation of the expected increased volume of air passengers during the holidays.

CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio has coordinated with airline operators and concerned government agencies operating at the airports, including the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP) to augment additional personnel in anticipation of expected surge in passenger traffic during Christmas and New Year season.

Apolonio said travelers are reminded not to bring prohibited items to the airport and to stow all belongings in one’s carry-on baggage for faster processing at the screening checkpoints.

Added security measures and deployment of service and security personnel are being observed in CAAP airports with commercial flights to ensure safe, reliable, and convenient airport operations as returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), civilians, and tourists travel for the holiday season, he said.

Due to travel bans imposed in the last two years brought by COVID-19, the CAAP operated airports reported that it has seen trends of pent-up demand for tourism this year, he added.

In 2019, Apolonio said CAAP airports welcomed a total 29,258,258 passengers from January to December 2019, with 2,537,774 passengers who travelled during the month of December.

The following year, a significant decrease was seen, as only 6,659,113 passengers travelled from January to December 2020, with only 245,141 passengers travelled in December 2020.

Last year, passenger volume reached 1,007,842 in December, while 5,136,075 passengers were recorded from January to December 2021.

So far this year, around 16 million passengers traveled in CAAP airports from January to October alone, and more are expected to travel during the holiday rush.

Based on pre-pandemic historical data, an estimate of around 7-10% increase in the number of passengers is expected annually; and with the current easing of travel restrictions, CAAP is optimistically preparing for surge in the demand for travel, Apolonio said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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