Domestic air passengers rise 10.5% in first half

By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes , Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 22 2010 03:24 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2010 11:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The number of domestic air passengers has increased 10.5% to 8.4 million during the first half of 2010 from 7.6 million in the same period last year, according to data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

Cebu Pacific accounted for 48.7% of the traffic, carrying 4.09 million passengers during the period, followed by Philippine Airlines (PAL) with 2.88 million or 34%, Air Philippines with 667,686, Zest Air with 616,058 and Seair with 132,416.

In terms of domestic cargo, volume transported also increased to 83.6 million kilograms during January to June 2010 from 60.9 million in the first half of last year, or a 37-percent improvement.

Again, Cebu Pacific accounted for the largest share with 42.3 million kgs, followed by PAL with 33.9 million, Zest Air with 5.49 million, Airphil 1.48 million, PEAC with 594,979, and Seair with 150,442.

Cebu Pacific expects to fly a total of 10 million domestic and international passengers this year, compared to last year’s 8.8 million, or a 31% year-on-year growth. By 2013, it expects to carry a total of 15 million passengers, exceeding the capacity of the NAIA Terminal 3, its home base.

“We expect to grow even more in the coming years as we take delivery of more brand-new planes which we will use to expand our capacity, increase frequencies, and fly to more local and foreign destinations,” Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog earlier said.

The Gokongwei-owned airline is buying 22 more 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery starting in October this year till 2014, which by then would make the airline’s Airbus fleet the largest in the country as well.

The airline currently operates the youngest aircraft fleet in the country, composed of 21 Airbus and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft.

Cebu Pacific is investing at least $1.4 billion over a 5-year period including this year for the acquisition of 22 new aircraft, in anticipation of a 50% growth in the number of its passengers by 2013.

The 22 brand-new Airbus 320 aircraft will be delivered from 2010 until 2014. On top of an existing order of 15 A320s, CEB president Lance Gokongwei said they have an additional firm order of seven A320s.

From an expected 10 million total passengers flown this year, CEB expects to fly 13 million passengers by 2012, growing further to 15.1 million by 2013.

“We are expecting 28% more passengers for us in 2010 compared with 2009 in an industry that is growing at a rate of 15 to 20%,” he said.