Air Asia passenger volume up

By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philippines Air Asia saw passenger volume surge in the first quarter of 2018 as it expanded its fleet and opened new routes out of Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

The airline, a part of Malaysia’s Air Asia Group, carried 1.61 million passengers from January to March, up by some 40 percent from year-ago level.

During the period, Philippines Air Asia saw its fleet of Airbus A320s expand from 15 aircraft to 21. Capacity rose 47 percent to 1.85 million available seats flown.

Its load factor, which measures utility against available capacity, dipped 5 percentage points to 87 percent.

In the first quarter, the airline started four new routes out of Clark Airport.

This follows the call of the Philippine government for domestic carriers to locate more flights to Clark Airport, an underutilized air gateway north of Metro Manila.

Philippines Air Asia, alongside larger domestic rivals Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air, have since ramped up operations in Clark Airport.

In 2012, Air Asia launched domestic operations in Clark Airport but later moved its hub to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

But worsening congestion in Naia in recent years has pushed airlines to increase their presence in alternative gateways such as Clark Airport, which is being expanded. By 2020, a new passenger terminal will be finished, tripling Clark Airport’s capacity.

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