MANILA – (UPDATED 5:10 p.m.) Domestic air travel inched up in the first quarter of the year even as local carriers registered no improvement in their load factor.
Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) show that domestic passenger traffic went up by 1.58 percent to 5.14 million in the January to March period from 5.06 million in the same three months of last year.
Eight airlines reported an average seating capacity of 6.89 million and an average load factor of 75 percent. Load factor is the number of occupied seats per flight.
Cebu Pacific remains the country’s leading domestic carrier, with 2.65 million passengers, up five percent from 2.52 million in 2013. The Gokongwei-led budget carrier registered a load factor of 78 percent, lower than 79 percent in 2013.
“CEB attributes its passenger growth to increased presence in key markets, strategic seat sales offering the lowest possible fares and continuous network expansion,” Jorenz Tanada, Cebu Pacific’s vice president for corporate communications said in a text message. CEB is the stock market symbol of Cebu Air Inc, the operator of Cebu Pacific.
Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) domestic passenger traffic fell by 50.4 percent to 367,653 in the first three months from 740,504 in the same period last year. Its load factor remained at 71 percent.
The flag carrier’s affiliate, PAL Express, flew 1.29 million passengers, up from 1.05 million last year. Its load factor went up to 77 percent from 74 percent over the same period.
AirAsia Zest carried 514,761 passengers this year, up from 497,993 passengers in 2013, while Tigerair Philippines flew 216,169 passengers from last year’s 209,979 passengers.
Air Asia Philippines carried 74,739 passengers, while Magnum Air flew 3,768 passengers. Island Transvoyager Inc had 17,841 passengers.
Cargo up 19 pct
For domestic cargo, the eight airlines carried a combined 53.82 million kilograms (kg) in the first quarter of the year, up 19 percent from last year’s 45.16 million.
Of the total, Cebu Pacific carried nearly half of the industry total at 25.89 million kg, up from 23 million last year. The PAL Group came in second with 20.97 million, up from 17.48 million last year, after a 141 percent increase in PAL Express’ cargo more than made up for the 29 percent drop in PAL’s volume.
AirAsia Zest’s share also slipped to 4.17 million from last year’s 4.39 million, while that of affiliate AirAsia climbed to 821,484 kg this year from 154,967 previously. Tigerair carried 1.83 million kg, up from the 93,518 last year.
source: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com