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Phl air traffic slips 2.6% in Q1

MANILA, Philippines - Air traffic in the Philippines slipped close to three percent in the first quarter of the year amid the slight decline in international passengers with budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) emerging as the preferred airline of passengers.

Data released by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) yesterday showed that air traffic in the Philippines reached 9.32 million from January to March this year or about 254,000 lower compared to 9.576 million in the same period last year.

Volume of domestic passengers inched up 1.5 percent to 5.137 million in the first quarter from 5.062 million in the same period last year while volume of international passengers slipped by 7.1 percent to 4.18 million from 4.5 million.

Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific dominated the domestic market as it flew 2.65 million passengers followed by national flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. and PAL Express with 1.658 million, AirAsia Zest with 514,761; Tiger Airways Philippines with 216,169; AirAsia with 74,739; Island Voyager with 17,841; and Magnum Air with 3,768.

In terms of traffic of international passengers, Philippine carriers flew 2.27 million passengers while foreign airlines carried 1.91 million passengers.

PAL, jointly owned by taipan Lucio Tan and diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) flew 1.23 million passengers in the first quarter while its unit PAL Express carried 36,898 passengers.

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Cebu Pacific flew 744,691 passengers from January to March this year while AirAsia Zest carried 195,436 passengers and Tigerair Philippines with 62,724 passengers.

Jorenz Tanada, vice president for corporate affairs of Cebu Pacific, traced the strong growth to the expansion of its route network as well as seat sales.

“Cebu Pacific attributes its passenger growth to increased presence in key markets, strategic seat sales offering the lowest possible fares, and continuous network expansion,” Tanada said in a text message.


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