The 42 commercial airports that are operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) are currently on high alert in preparation for the anticipated increase in the number of air passengers that will be traveling during the holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s.

In a statement, CAAP declared that it has worked with airport operators and concerned government organizations, such as the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP), to add more staff in preparation for the anticipated increase in passenger traffic over the holiday period.

“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,” it said.

“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,” it added.

The CAAP-operated airports reported that they have seen trends of pent-up demand for tourism this year. These trends are likely the result of travel bans that were imposed in the last two years as a result of COVID-19.

December saw a total of 2,537,774 passengers travel through CAAP airports, bringing the total number of passengers served in 2019 to 29,258,258. This number includes passengers who traveled between January and December 2019.

A sizeable drop was observed in 2020, with a total of only 6,659,113 passengers having traveled from January through December of that year, and with only 245,141 passengers having traveled in December of that year.

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.

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