The country’s aviation industry regulator has capped international arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to 1,500 a day effective March 18, Thursday.
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said the limit will be in effect until April 18.
CAB said airlines should only comply with the directives of the Bureau of Immigration on the kinds of essential inbound travellers that will be allowed entry to the country during the period.
Airlines have yet to announce their schedule of flight cancellations.
The cap comes on the heels of a sustained surge in the number of new COVID-19 infections, which hit a record seven-month high yesterday of 5,404 new cases. Recently, the more contagious strains of COVID-19, such as the South African and UK variants, have been detected in the country.
The surge in cases also comes a year after the national government announced the first lockdown, in effect dampening efforts to gradually restart the country’s sputtering economy. Government officials have largely pinned the blame for the recent surge on the public’s lack of observance on minimum safety standards.
The aviation and travel industry for one has been among the hardest hit industries after the pandemic grounded air travel, leading to rounds of layoffs.
In January 2020, before the pandemic hit, international arrivals at NAIA reached over a million, averaging 34,521 a day. In May 2020, international arrivals sank to 14,683 (around 473 a day) after the suspension of flights. Volume was slowly taking off since then, growing to 123,388 (3,980 a day) arrivals last December.