Goal of 10-M tourists in 2016 requires 15-M plane seats

Passengers form a long line in front of airlines check in counters at the terminal building of Manila international airport on June 16, 2008. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE

Passengers form a long line in front of airlines check in counters at the terminal building of Manila international airport on June 16, 2008.

AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE

MANILA, Philippines - The country's largest budget carrier called on the Aquino government to consider the additional seat capacity required from commercial airlines that will fly in 10 million tourists, the official target for 2016.

For Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific, hitting that tourist arrival goal requires 14 million to  15 million seats.

Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing, then highlighted the need for the Philippine air panel, which conducts country-to-country negotiations for additional seats, to keep those targets in mind.

“From our perspective, the [air negotiating panel] should be looking at 14 million seats. If we want to hit 10 million tourists, then we must negotiate a total of 14 million to 15 million seats,” Iyog said.

“We would need this much additional capacity and the [panel] must realize that you have to factor in flight entitlements if we want to promote tourism,” she said.

Cebu Pacific has been raring to clinch more flight entitlements out of the agreed total the negotiating panel seals with their counterparts in the other county.

The Gokongwei-led airline is looking to launch long-haul flights in 2013 to destinations that include the Middle East, a lucrative route that it currently does not have flight allocations for.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), a member of the negotiating panel, recorded 2.5 million tourists arrivals in the Philippines at end-July.

Almost 100% of tourists arrive by air to visit the Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia. - Rappler.com