THE country’s largest budget carrier flew more passengers in the first five months of the year owing to strong operations last month.
Data from Cebu Pacific showed that it flew 1.55 million passengers in May, an 11.3-percent increase from 1.39 million passengers in the same month last year.
Service capacity, meanwhile, grew by a slower 6.9 percent to 1.70 seats from 1.59 seats in the same comparative months. This brought Cebu Pacific’s seat load factor for the month of May to 91.2 percent, a 3.6-percentage point increase from 87.6 percent in 2013.
Load factor is an indication of actual seats taken or sold versus potential. “May is among the peak months for Cebu Pacific, and our flights were about 91 percent full, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to the same period last year,” Cebu Pacific spokesman Jorenz T. Tañada said in a text message.
Year-to-date, passengers carried by the budget carrier inched up by 7.2 percent to 6.73 million customers from 6.28 million patrons. Its capacity to serve its customers grew by the almost the same rate at 7.1 percent to 7.84 million seats from 7.32 million seats. Passenger load factor barely increased to 85.9 percent to 85.8 percent.
Cebu Pacific has set a 17-million passenger volume guidance set for the year as its capacity to fly more customers increased with the inclusion of Tigerair Philippines to its operations.
Without taking into account the added capacity from Tigerair, Cebu Pacific said it expects to serve 15 million passengers by year-end, Cebu Pacific President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei earlier said.
The budget carrier flew 14.35 million passengers last year, 8.3-percent higher than the 13.24 million customers recorded in 2012.
Cebu Pacific currently operates over 2,200 flights per week with 49 planes servicing 24 international and 33 Philippine destinations.
Tigerair Philippines mounts 118 flights per week with five planes flying to 11 domestic and international destinations, from bases in Metro Manila and Clark in Pampanga.
Source: Lorenz S. Marasigan