MANILA – Cebu Pacific dominated the domestic air travel market, while Philippine Airlines (PAL) lorded it over on the international front in the first six months of the year.
Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) show that the country’s air passenger traffic in the January to June period went up by 9.5 percent to 21.73 million from last year’s 9.31 million.
Domestic passenger traffic fueled the rise, grow by 15 percent to 12.42 million this year from 10.77 million last year.
Cebu Pacific remains the country’s leading domestic carrier with a 46 percent share of the market. It flew 5.82 million passengers this year, up by 6.98 percent from last year’s 5.44 million.
PAL’s domestic traffic increased 30.26 percent to 1.98 million from 1.52 million in 2013.
The flag carrier’s affiliate, PAL Express, flew 2.7 million passengers, up by 28.57 percent from 2.1 million last year.
AirAsia Zest carried 1.06 million passengers in the first half of the year, while Tigerair Philippines flew 575,093 passengers. AirAsia Philippines carried 168,106 passengers.
CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla ascribed the growth in domestic passenger traffic to additional flights by the country’s budget airlines and cheaper airfare, adding that travel peaks in the second quarter.
The country’s international passenger traffic also grew albeit at a slower 2.64 percent to 9.31 million in the first six months of the year from 9.07 million in the same period last year.
Arcilla blamed the slower growth in the international market on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) limited capacity to handle traffic, which has prevented carriers from mounting more flights.
He said the congestion should abate once the government builds a third runway for the airport.
A recent study done by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) shows that NAIA would be operating beyond capacity starting 2015, by which time the airport will be handling 37.78 million passengers.
At end-2012, NAIA accommodated 31.88 million passengers, near its maximum handling capacity of 35 million a year.
PAL flew the most number of international passengers at 2.49 million in the first half of the year, up by 24.5 percent from 2 million a year ago. Its affiliate, PAL Express, carried 77,309 passengers.
Cebu Pacific carried 1.62 million passengers, 9.45 percent more than the 1.48 million last year. Zest Airways flew 377,198 passengers, followed by Tigerair Philippines, 104,467; and Air Asia Inc, 2,168.
Foreign carriers carried 4.63 million passengers.
Source: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com