Cebu Pacific passenger traffic slipped in Q1


By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

The operator of budget airline Cebu Pacific Air saw passenger growth contract in the first quarter of 2017, partly on increased competition with domestic rivals.

Cebu Air Inc., which owns Cebu Pacific and Cebgo, announced its January to March 2017 operating statistics on Wednesday, showing that passenger traffic slid by 0.5 percent to 4.81 million passengers compared to the same period in 2016.

Cebu Air said capacity, with a growth of 2.9 percent, rose faster than demand, causing seat load factor to slip 2.9 percentage points to 83.8 percent for the period.

Since tycoon Lucio Tan resumed full control of rival Philippine Airlines in 2014, the flag carrier vowed to aggressively compete anew in the domestic arena.

As a result, think tank CAPA-Center for Aviation said in a report early this year that Cebu Pacific ceded some domestic market share to PAL in 2016. However, CAPA noted these were mainly on “lower yielding and generally unprofitable point-to-point routes.” Separately, Philippines Air Asia noted higher passenger volume in 2016.

Cebu Air also said passenger traffic for March 2017 alone was down 0.2 percent to 1.64 million passengers compared to the same period in 2016.

Capacity during the period was up by 3.3 percent, while seat load factor was down 2.9 percentage points to 82.8 percent.

Cebu Air disclosed earlier that full-year 2016 net income jumped 122.3 percent to P9.75 billion compared to the same period in 2015 on strong passenger volume and lower oil prices.

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