Cebu Pacific overtakes Philippine Airlines in Q1 domestic market

Despite a stagnant load factor across the industry, the first quarter of 2014 saw a modest 1.58 percent increase in domestic passenger traffic, rising to 5.14 million from 5.06 million in the same period in 2013, as reported by the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Eight airlines reported an average seating capacity of 6.89 million and an average load factor of 75 percent. Cebu Pacific led the domestic market with a load factor of 78 percent, maintaining its position as the country’s top domestic carrier.

Cebu Pacific Air saw a 5 percent increase in passenger volume, rising to 2.65 million passengers from 2.52 million in the first quarter of the previous year.

Jorenz Tanada, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Communications, said:

CEB’s passenger growth can be attributed to an increased presence in key markets, strategic seat sales offering the most competitive fares, and ongoing network expansion.

In contrast, the national flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, experienced a 50.4 percent drop in domestic passenger volume, falling to 367,653 in the first quarter. Despite this, PAL Express saw an increase, flying 1.29 million passengers, up from 1.05 million the previous year. The load factor also increased from 74 percent to 77 percent.

AirAsia Zest reported an increase in domestic passenger volume, rising to 514,761 passengers from 497,993 in 2013. AirAsia Philippines also saw an increase, flying 74,739 passengers in the first quarter.

Tigerair, which was acquired by Cebu Pacific in March, reported an increase to 216,169 passengers in 2014, up from 209,979 in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, SkyJet Airlines and Island Transvoyager flew 3,768 and 17,841 passengers respectively.

Domestic cargo soar

Domestic cargo also saw a 19 percent increase, with a total of 53.82 million kilograms carried by the eight domestic carriers. Cebu Pacific led the domestic cargo industry, carrying 25.89 million kilograms, up from 23 million the previous year. Philippine Airlines followed, carrying 20.97 million kilograms, up from 17.48 million last year.

AirAsia Zest’s cargo volume decreased to 4.17 million kilograms from 4.39 million the previous year. However, affiliate AirAsia Philippines saw an increase to 821,484 kilograms this year, up from 154,967 previously. Tigerair Philippines also saw an increase, carrying 1.83 million kilograms, up from 93,518 last year.