Budget airline off to a good start


By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

Cebu Air Inc., the country’s largest budget airline group, saw an uptick in passenger volume at the start of 2017.

The company, which operates Cebu Pacific Air and Cebgo, carried 1.72 million passengers in January this year, marking a year-on-year gain of 4.8 percent, data posted on Cebu Air’s website showed.

During this period, capacity increased by 6.6 percent to 2 million seats. Demand did not grow as fast, leading seat load factor, a measure of aircraft utilization, to slip 1.5 percentage points to 85 percent in January this year.

Activity during the period, which still benefits from the Christmas travel season and the Chinese Lunar New Year, went up as flights increased 3.5 percent to 11,738 flights.

Asia-Pacific and most other parts of the world saw an uptick in travel in January, according to data from the International Air Transport Association. (IATA)

Carriers in this region alone recorded a 10.9-percent increase in international traffic last January versus the same period in 2016.

Asia-Pacific capacity was also up 6.7 percent, with load factor inching higher to 80.3 percent.

Overall, IATA said global demand, as measured by revenue passenger kilometers, was up 9.6 percent in Jan. this year.

“This was the strongest increase in more than five years. Results were positively affected by traffic associated with the Lunar New Year celebrations, which occurred in January this year,” IATA noted in its statement.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general and CEO, said those gains showed that 2017 “is off to a very strong start with demand at levels not seen since 2011.”

“This is supported by the upturn in the global economic cycle and a return to a more normal environment after the terrorism and political ‘shock’ events seen in early 2016,” he said.