Domestic flight movements drop due to bigger planes used by airlines

By Benjamin Lim Vergara

THE Manila International Airport Authority observed a decline in domestic flight movements at the country’s main gateway in 2018 due to the bigger planes now flown by airlines.

Domestic flight movements in 2018 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) dropped to 145,881 compared to 149,371 flight movements in 2017, a decrease of 2.34 percent or 3,490 flights.

But MIAA said despite this, passenger throughput increased by 5.11 percent or an additional 1,077,273 passengers for a total of 22,142,186 domestic passenger traffic.

MIAA explained that the large decline in domestic flight movements was attributed to the introduction of bigger aircraft to service the different domestic routes of airline companies in order to optimize the use of runway slotting.

Domestic cargo movement also decreased by 8.20 percent, down to 283,306 metric tons. The decrease of 25,591, the MIAA said, is attributable to the inverse relationship between domestic flights and passenger movement because of the new wide body airplanes.

The MIAA added that even the number of operation and passenger movement at the General Aviation sector saw an increase of 14.11 percent in its operation with 3,754 more flight movements for a total of 30,358 for 2018.

At the same time, passenger movement also increased by 29.88 percent, or 51,478 for a total of 223,284 passengers at the General Aviation. Most of these General Aviation flights bring passengers to and from remote resort islands in Palawan, Quezon, Siargao, and Sulu.

There was no recorded cargo movement in General Aviation due to the ban on fish run operations, the MIAA said.

Meanwhile, international flight operations had improved by 4.42 percent, or 4,822 flights for a total of 113,817 flight movements.

According to MIAA, with this increase, passenger throughput also went up by 9.62 percent, or 2,015,939 passengers for a total of 22,973,510.

“The big rise in passenger throughput, even though the rate of flight movement is not as high, can be credited to the increase in use of wide-body airplanes that can accommodate more passengers per flight.”

Cargo movement in international operations increased by 8.46 percent, or 35,269 metric tons. Total cargo movement in 2018 has a total of 452,392 metric tons.

In another development, MIAA reported that its gross revenues were up by 9 percent or P1.16 billion for a total of P14.11 billion compared to P12.94 billion in 2017.

The operator of NAIA said that “P1.71 billion went to the national government. The net income from operations went up 14 percent or P759 million, for a total of P6.24 billion. The jump in revenues can be attributed to the overall increase in both flight and passenger movements brought about by the steady growth in international travel, as well as the swelling arrival of Chinese tourists ever since the government initiated the Visa Upon Arrival option at the country’s main gateway.”

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Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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