Philippines is likely to resume direct air services to India by next year with at least one of the three carriers from the Southeast Asian nation mulling to launch flights in the world’s third largest domestic market. The India-Philippines market has not had non-stop services since 2011, when Philippine Airlines (PAL) briefly operated fights from Manila to New Delhi. According to a latest industry report, Cebu Pacific Air, PAL and Philippines AirAsia are seeking traffic rights to serve India and are keen to serve New Delhi.
“Direct flights in the fast-growing India-Philippines market are likely to resume by 2018,” Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the Sydney-based aviation think-tank, said in a report released today.
India is the largest unserved market from the South- east Asian nation and the only one among the top 12 source market for the Philippine tourism sector without any non-stop service at present, it said.
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Manila-Delhi is by far the largest city pair by passenger numbers, accounting for more than 30 per cent of total Philippines-India traffic, CAPA said in its report.
The report noted that the local Philippines-India market has grown significantly since the PAL withdrawal, making a non-stop route attractive again.
The total number of passengers flying between the two countries has nearly doubled in size since 2011, driven primarily by growth in Indian visitor traffic to Philippines.
Indian resident visitor numbers to Philippines have grown from 43,000 in 2011 to 91,000 in 2016, the report stated adding, there has been double digit growth in five out of the past six years.
Indian visitor growth to Philippines exceeded 20 per cent in both 2015 and 2016. In 2016, India was the second fastest growing among the top 12 source markets, after China, the report said.
According to the report, airlines from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong carry more than 90 per cent of these passengers, with one stop service via Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, it said.
There are nearly 1,00,000 annual Indian visitors to Philippines and approximately 50,000 annual Filipino tourists to India.
According to CAPA, the Philippines-India air services agreement permits both non-stop flights and fifth freedom flights via Bangkok.
Under the Fifth Freedom rights, airlines are allowed to carry passengers from one’s own country to a second country, and from there to a third nation and so on. PTI IAS RSY 04101823