The Philippines, through the Department of Tourism, is hosting Routes Asia 2019, which will be held on March 10 to 12 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.
A report on routesonline.com said senior decision makers from over 85 airlines in the Asia Pacific region are expected to attend the event and accept meeting requests.
Routes Asia is described as the only route development forum dedicated to the Asia Pacific region. It “provides attendees with an unrivaled platform for cultivating contacts and negotiating their future route networks.”
The conference comes to Cebu two years after it was held in Manila and on the heels of the completion of the new international passenger terminal, called Terminal 2 or T2, at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
The new terminal brings the annual passenger capacity of Mactan Airport, the second busiest in the country, to 12.5 million.
The Routes report noted that the Philippines’ domestic aviation market has grown significantly in recent years, as the number of domestic and international departure seats has more than doubled over the past decade.
Citing analysis published in OAG Schedules Analyser. the Philippine aviation industry’s capacity in terms of departure seats has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
Domestic capacity went up to 35.4 million in 2018 from 15.8 million departure seats in 2008, while international capacity has grown to almost 18.2 million from 8.4 million over the same period.
At the Mactan airport, private operator GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation is proposing to further expand the facility, construct an additional full-length taxiway and second parallel runway, and build a third passenger terminal building.
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Another routesonline.com report quoted Erwin Balane, head of route development for the DOT, as saying that authorities were eyeing to increase Mactan airport’s annual capacity to 35 million passengers by 2025.
Full Routes report: Cebu seeks international connections
Balane said passenger traffic to Cebu has grown by about 11% yearly from 2015 to 2017. Passenger traffic reached 9.59 million in 2017 compared to 7.77 million in 2015.
Balane said that through Routes Asia 2019, the DOT plans to promote Cebu to air carriers in Asia for increased connectivity.
“For instance, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has already signed the Open Skies agreement to increase travel between and among the ASEAN nations, but there are still city pairs which are still underserved or unserved in terms of air connectivity,” he said.
“We want to have more connectivity to second tier cities in China, where demand for leisure travel is so huge. We also want to have direct air connectivity to Cebu from medium-haul markets like Australia and New Zealand as well as long-haul markets like Europe and North America,” he added. (Ventures Cebu)