Air Philippines, fastest growing airline in 2011

Domestic Travel Grew 16%

Quick Facts (Growth year-on-year):
Air Philippines .............176%
Zest Air grew ................85%
Cebu Pacific .................3.9%
Philippine Airlines .....-17%
Seair ...........................-36%

August 8, 2011

DOMESTIC air travel rose by double digits in the first half of the year, boosted by airlines’ agressive expansion and price wars, according to to the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Data from CAB showed the number of domestic passengers rose 15.9 percent to 9.72 million from 8.39 million in the same six-month period last year.

The country’s five major carriers’ seat capacity jumped 16.76 percent to 12.12 million from 10.38 million last year.

Domestic load factor, which measures the number of seats occupied during a flight, averaged 79 percent, up from 77 percent last year. The industry’s increasing load factor reflects a steady growth in passenger demand.

In a text message, Carmelo Arcilla, CAB executive director, attributed the passenger growth to the liberal policy of the government that has encouaged competition and expansion of existing services.

“Another factor is the high acceptability of the low cost airline model that offers very reasonable and competitive fares,” Arcilla said.

Cebu Pacific remained the leading domestic carrier during the period, but the increase in its passengers was lower than other budget airline such as AirPhil Express and Zest Airways, both of which have been agressively expanding their fleets and destinations.

Cebu Pacific carried a total of 4.25 million passengers, up by 3.9 percent from 4.09 million last year. Its load factor however fell to 84 percent from 85 percent.

AirPhil Express flew 1.85 million passengers, higher by 176.5 percent from 667,686 last year.

In a telephone interview, Alfredo M. Herrera, Airphil Express senior vice president for marketing and sales, said the huge increase in passengers was driven by the airline’s competitive fare and increased capacity.

He said the airline has been successful in snatching passengers from rivals, while gaining new travelers.

Herrera said AirPhil Express expects to carry more than four million passengers by end of the year.

Zest Airways recorded an 85.34 percent increase in domestic passengers to 1.14 million from 616,058 last year.

Butch Rodriguez, ZestAir senior vice president for commercial and external affairs, attributed the growth to the doubling of its fleet from three Airbus A320s to six, as well as to more destinations and frequencies.

Philippine Airlines recorded a 17 percent decline in domestic passengers to 2.39 million from 2.88 million last year.

Southeast Asian Airlines also posted a drop in passengers to 97,326 from 132,416 last year.

Industry-wide cargo dropped to 80.78 million kilograms in the first six months as against 83.6 million last year.

PAL carried 27.31 million kilograms; Cebu Pacific, 37.50 million; AirPhil Express, 9.43 million; Seari, 101,387 kilograms and Zest Air, 6.43 million. - Manila times

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