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CebuPac, TigerAir to fly 17-M passengers this yr

MANILA, Philippines - The combined network of budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) and its newly-acquired Tiger Airways Philippines is expected to serve over 17 million passengers this year amid the country’s expanding domestic economy.

Cebu Pacific president and chief operating officer Lance Gokongwei said they are looking at flying more than 15 million and two million passengers for Cebu Pacific and Tigeriar Philippines, respectively.

 “Without Tigerair Philippines, we see an excess of 15 million passengers. I guess with Tigerair Philippines, we are looking at over 17 million,” Gokongwei stressed.

He pointed out that the projected growth would be fuelled by both international and domestic passengers as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) continues to expand.

Economic managers are looking at a GDP growth of between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent this year from 7.2 percent last year.

 “The economy is robust, so we see opportunity for growth across fields,” Gokongwei added.

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Cebu Pacific is now in the process of seeking Congressional approval after getting the nod of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for the $15-million transaction to acquire 100 percent of Tigerair Philippines.

The Committee on Franchise of the House of Representatives has to approve the proposed acquisition.

 “I think the key point for Tigerair Philippines right now is we are really helping them in terms of making their product much more available, especially through Cebu Pacific website. Since our entry last March 20 we’ve already seen dramatic improvements in their load factor because of the distribution we created for them,” he added.

The budget airline is spending $7 million to acquire the 40-percent share of Tiger Airways Singapore Pte Ltd and $8 million for the 60 percent owned by Filipino businessmen in Tigerair Philippines.

Cebu Pacific announced that it has closed its purchase of 100 percent of Tigerair Philippines including the 40 percent stake of Tiger Airways Holdings Limited last March 22.

Tigerair Philippines flights would continue to be operated out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4 while Cebu Pacific flights would remain to be at NAIA Terminal 3.                               



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