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Cebu Pacific bullish this year

MANILA, Philippines - Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific), the airline arm of the business empire of taipan John L. Gokongwei Jr., is bullish about the prospects of the airline industry amid intense competition, overcapacity in the domestic market, and rising price of aviation fuel.

Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer Lance Y. Gokongwei said in an interview with reporters that the airline is expected to sustain the strong growth registered last year wherein passenger volume and revenues grew in double-digit levels.

Gokongwei pointed out that the low cost carrier is bullish about the industry’s outlook despite the continuing challenges including increased competition as well as high price of aviation fuel.

Latest data showed that the net income of Cebu Pacific inched up by 2.4 percent to P2.27 billion in the first nine months of last year from P2.21 billion in the same period in 2011 as revenues jumped 14 percent to P27.87 billion from P24.46 billion.

On the other hand, the budget airline is confident that the volume of passengers would continue to grow this year with the launch of several long-haul destinations led by the Manila to Dubai flights starting Oct. 7.

Cebu Pacific was looking at servicing 14 million passengers last year but the target was derailed after the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) adopted new schemes including the new slotting system to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

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Gokongwei said the budget airline serviced more than 13 million passengers or lower than the target of 14 million due to the ban on the mounting of additional daytime flights.

“But we still have a very significant double digit growth in both passengers and revenues,” he stressed.

It flew 12 percent more passengers in the first nine months of last year after strengthening the airline’s domestic route network out of Cebu and additional capacity to key international destinations.

Cebu Pacific flew 9.8 million passengers from January to September last year or 1.1 million higher than the 8.7 million passengers serviced in the same period in 2011.

Last Nov. 15, Cebu Pacific awarded its 70 millionth passenger barely two years after President Aquino awarded the airline’s 50 millionth passenger.

The flight to Dubai would be the first long haul destination of Cebu Pacific but the airline is also looking at other countries in the Middle East such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, among others as future destinations.




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