Philippine carriers are eyeing India as a new growth market with traffic between both countries on the rise, think tank Capa-Center for Aviation said in a report.
It said direct flights between the Philippines and India could resume by 2018. Philippine Airlines, which stopped nonstop services in 2011, Cebu Pacific Air and Philippines Air Asia are currently seeking rights from the Philippine government to mount flights to India.
“The local Philippines-India market has grown significantly since the PAL withdrawal, making a nonstop route attractive again,” Capa said.
“The total number of passengers flying between the two countries has doubled in size since 2011, driven primarily by growth in Indian visitor traffic to the Philippines,” it added.
Capa said there were 200,000 passengers between India and the Philippines yearly.
It said Indian “resident visitors” to the Philippines more than doubled from 43,000 in 2011 to 91,000 in 2016.
“There has been double digit growth in five out of the past six years. In all five years the Indian visitor numbers increased more rapidly than the total visitor numbers to the Philippines,” Capa said.
With big carriers eyeing limited slots for the route, Capa said the “fairest” solution would be for the Philippine government to equally or almost equally allocate to PAL and Cebu Pacific the seven weekly Philippines-India frequencies available under the two countries’ air services agreement.
A new bilateral agreement with India was needed to support future growth, it said.