Airlines banking on business travel to boost revenues

By: Miguel R. Camus - Philippine Daily Inquirer May 19,2020 - 10:03 AM

Business travelers can provide the local airline industry with a needed boost while the tourism market recovers.

Roberto Lim, vice chair of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (Acap), said nonleisure travel would continue once strict quarantine measures are eased and airlines are allowed to serve passengers again.“Domestic travel is larger than domestic tourism,” Lim told the Inquirer. He said these include business trips, traveling maintenance personnel and even returning residents.

“Air transport is a catalyst to resuming trade and commerce,” he added. Philippine Airlines president Gilbert Santa Maria said during a virtual briefing last week that there was a strong demand for business travel.

He cited key outsourcing locations around the country, including Bohol.

“For us it’s beyond tourism. Tourism is [still] an essential enterprise that we absolutely support,” Santa Maria said.

Charo Logarta Lagamon, Cebu Pacific director for corporate communications, said the carrier was also preparing to restart regular operations and would continue to offer value prices for flyers.

The industry is confronting the coronavirus health crisis with new rules to make flying safer. Mandatory wearing of face masks and more stringent sanitation protocols will be implemented once restrictions to air travel have been lifted.Apart from regular disinfecting, the use of high efficiency particulate air filters inside the plane will capture nearly all contaminants and viruses.

“Flying in an airplane is different from riding a bus or train,” Lim said. “The air is subjected to more safety and hygienic protocols and, with technology, make traveling by air relatively safe.” INQ

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