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HomeAviationPandemic drives 52% PH air cargo plunge in 2020

Pandemic drives 52% PH air cargo plunge in 2020

  • Cargo volumes handled by airports under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines sank 52% in 2020 as the air travel industry reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Aircraft movement decreased 59% in 2020 from the preceding year, while passenger traffic was hit the most, falling 72%
  • CAAP recorded a 64.26% drop in revenues in 2020 to P3.713 billion from P10.388 billion in 2019

Cargo volumes handled by airports under the jurisdiction of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) dropped 52% in 2020 as the air travel industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its 2020 accomplishment report, CAAP said cargoes declined to 123.471 million kilograms (kg) in 2020 from 256.649 million kg in 2019.

Aircraft movement likewise decreased 59% to 299,832 last year from 723,717 in 2019. Passenger traffic was hit the most, falling 72% to 6.787 million from 24.469 million.

The figures exclude statistics from Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Subic Airport, and Clark International Airport; these airports are operated by other government instrumentalities.

CAAP said the decline in cargo, aircraft, and passenger movements was first observed from January to April 2020.

“This can be attributed to depressed passenger demand as a response to the emerging disease, which was first reported in December 2020 as well as the arrival of the first COVID-19 case in the Philippines reported in January 2020,” CAAP said.

A gradual recovery was observed towards the end of December 2020 due to the easing of community quarantines and deployment of flights catering to medical missions, sweeper flights, Overseas Filipino Workers, locally stranded individuals, and Authorized Person Outside Residence.

CAAP noted, however, that even though flights were allowed to resume, a number of airports and local governments opted to close their borders to visitors for health and safety purposes.

Social distancing was also imposed during flights to comply with government safety and health protocols. CAAP said these factors contributed to the slow and gradual increase in aircraft, passenger, and cargo movement in the latter half of 2020.

For cargoes in particular, volumes were below 2019 levels for all the months of 2020, with the biggest drop recorded in April 2020, the first full month of enhanced community quarantine.

CAAP also recorded a 64.26% decrease in revenues in 2020 to P3.713 billion from P10.388 billion in 2019. Operational expenses, however, were 24.10% lower, sliding to P5.448 billion from P7.178 billion in 2019.

Of its P7.321 billion corporate operating budget for 2021, CAAP utilized P6.095 billion or 83%.

Moreover, the authority was able to remit P6 billion to the national coffers in 2020. As a government-owned and controlled corporation, CAAP is mandated to remit part of its annual income to the government.

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