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Cebu Pac books more passengers

MANILA, Philippines - Listed budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) booked a six percent growth in the number of passengers in the first five months of the year.

Based on its operating statistics posted on its website, Cebu Pacific served 6.278 million passengers from January to May this year or 279,310 higher than the 5.928 million served in the same period last year.

Data showed that the number of Ceby Pacific’s domestic passengers climbed 5.4 percent to 4.847 million in the first five months of the year from 4.599 million in the same period last year while the number of foreign passengers grew 7.6 percent to 1.43 million from 1.329 million.

The company’s capacity likewise expanded by 5.4 percent to 7.319 million seats in the first five months of the year from 6.943 million translating to a load factor of 85.8 percent this year from last year’s 85.4 percent.

 For the month of May alone, the number of passengers served by Cebu Pacific increase by 8.4 percent to 1.392 million from 1.284 million in the same month last year.

Domestic passengers jumped 9.8 percent to 1.097 million from one million while international passengers went up 3.4 percent to 294,677 from 284,877.

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Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei earlier said the company has further prioritized safety as two of its aircraft were involved in accidents last month at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Davao International Airport.

 “June is a difficult month for us but safety has always been the higher priority for Cebu Pacific,” Gokongwei earlier said.

 The airline has heightened its focus on safety giving it the highest priority after a Cebu Pacific flight 5J-971 veered off the runway of the Davao International Airport last June 2. All the 165 passengers were safe but the incident caused runway obstruction leading to a two-day closure of the airport.

 Another incident happened two weeks ago when a Cebu Pacific flight from Iloilo City veered off the runway of the NAIA damaging five runway lights.

 Cebu Pacific said it is likely to miss its projected passenger of 15 million this year due to the slowdown in aircraft traffic in the country as well as the incident involving its aircraft.

 Latest data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed that air traffic in the Philippines inched up by 1.1 percent to 9.576 million passengers in the first quarter from a year-ago level of 9.47 million.

The current fleet of Cebu Pacific is 45 consisting of 26 Airbus A320s, 10 A319s, and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft.

The airline is unfazed by recent incidents involving two of its aircraft at the Davao International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is pursuing a massive re-fleeting program to beef up its fleet to reach 62 aircraft by 2017 from about 41 Airbus aircraft as of end-2012.

The airline is taking the delivery of three additional A320s in the second half of the year and two A330s next year as well as nine more A320s between 2015 and 2017.

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