AirAsia Philippines expects demand for foreign flights to rise

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
AirAsia Philippines expects demand for foreign flights to rise
This undated file photo shows scenes around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Low-cost carrier AirAsia Philippines has already booked close to 300,000 seats for January 2023 as it begins its quest to return to pre-pandemic capacity and boost international travel.

Based on data, AirAsia Philippines said that forward bookings for January had already reached 285,000. This is 70 percent higher than the seats booked a year ago.

With only a few days left in 2022, AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said AirAsia Philippines appears on track to end the year strong.

On the domestic side, Isla said AirAsia Philippines had posted a load factor of 93 percent as of Dec.19. This means that nine in every 10 seats per flight were booked. Zamboanga remains to be the top performer with a load factor of 98 percent, followed by Puerto Princesa and Roxas with 95 percent each.

On the other hand, Bangkok tops the list among international routes of AirAsia Philippines with a load factor of 92 percent.

Isla said Incheon placed second with 90 percent.

AirAsia Philippines expects demand for overseas travel to rise in 2023, fueled by the downward trend in ticket prices and the continuous lifting of border restrictions.

“We are seeing a robust travel demand for next year, especially as travelers now become more comfortable with locking their trips ahead of time,” Isla said.

“A more relaxed protocol for international destinations has also set the pace for outbound travel, which we expect to pick up next year as we open new exciting destinations,” he said.

For January, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) slashed the fuel surcharge that airlines can pass on to passengers to somewhat minimize their expenses. From Level 8 this December, CAB cut the fuel surcharge to Level 7.

Under Level 7, airlines can slap a fuel surcharge of P219 to P739 for domestic flights and P722.71 to P5,373.69 for international trips, depending on the distance. For as long as fuel surcharge declines, Isla said passengers can expect the cost of flying to go down as well.

AirAsia Philippines also extended its seat sale until Jan. 8, 2023, to encourage travelers to book a flight to their preferred destination for a base fare of as low as P112.

Meanwhile, the budget airline reminded guests that all of its flights bound for Caticlan and Cebu were moved to Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport together with its foreign trips.

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