Philippine airline Cebu Pacific tops 10 million passengers mark

The South East Asian carrier has been expanding its fleet and its routes as demand soars both domestically and on the international stage.

A Cebu Pacific plane takes off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. The airline has reported impressive increases in passenger numbers. Noel Celis / AFP
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The Philippines airline Cebu Pacific flew in excess of 10 million passengers from January to June this year, an increase of 9 per cent over the same period in 2015.

On average, flights were 87 per cent full during these months, said Cebu, the only low-cost carrier that flies directly from Dubai to the Philippines capital Manila.

For June alone, Cebu flew a total of 1.6 million passengers, up by 8 per cent from the 1.5 million passengers flown in the same month in 2015.

The upsurge in passenger volume was primarily driven by popular domestic destinations in Visayas and Mindanao such as Kalibo, Tacloban, Siargao, and Tagbilaran, Cebu said.

Long-haul passengers to and from Cebu’s destinations in the Middle East and Australia likewise contributed to the upturn, after posting a substantial increase in volume from January to June 2016 versus the same period last year, the airline said, without providing figures.

Key international short-haul destinations including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, also fared well during the first half of 2016. Passengers to and from Japan, in particular, spiked by 21 per cent as a result of the launch of Cebu–Tokyo (Narita) in March 2015 and Manila–Fukuoka in December 2015.

“We are very proud to share with you that since CEB’s inception in 1996, our passengers now number more than 130 million and counting. These promising figures encourage us to cater to the growing travel demand not just in Manila, but throughout our six strategic hubs nationwide. We are optimistic that with the support of relevant airport and government authorities, we can continue offering our trademark lowest fares to even more Filipino travellers in the years to come,” said J R Mantaring, Cebu’s vice president for corporate affairs.

The airline reported a net income of 4.4 billion pesos (Dh343.4 million) in 2015, a growth of 414 per cent from the previous year, propelled by robust passenger and cargo revenues, and lower operating expenses.

Cebu’s total revenues went up by 8.7 per cent to 56.5bn pesos, on the back of sustained growth in passenger volume on key domestic and international destinations. The airline’s improved presence in emerging markets, supported by a conservative fleet expansion plan, also contributed to the upward trend, it said.

The carrier’s network spans Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States. It recently announced three new routes from Cebu Island in the south of the country to Calbayog, Ormoc and Roxas, bringing its total number of domestic destinations to 36. It also currently flies to 30 international destinations, including Dubai, Incheon, Guam, Tokyo, and Sydney.

Cebu’s 57-strong fleet is comprised of seven Airbus A319s, 36 A320s, six A330s and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft. Between 2016 and 2021, It expects delivery of 32 A321neos and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft.

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