MANILA, Philippines – Low fares introduced by budget airlines increased the volume of domestic passengers by 9.6% in 2012.
Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board showed domestic passenger traffic in the country reached 20.57 million during the year, or 1.81 million more than the 18.76 million recorded in 2011.
Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific carried the most number of passengers at 9.48 million or 46% of the total in 2012. This was 11.8% more than the 8.48 million passengers the airline booked in 2011.
AirPhil Express of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) was second, with 4.5 million passengers or 21.9% of the total. This was 20.3% higher than 2011’s 3.7 million.
PAL accounted for about 20% of domestic traffic, carrying 4.1 million passengers in 2012, versus 4.31 million in 2011.
AirPhil Express and PAL are partly owned by diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
Zest Airways of the family of former Ambassador Alfredo Yao cornered a 10% share as it serviced 2.06 million domestic passengers, slightly lower than the previous year’s 2.15 million.
AirAsia serviced 158,519 domestic passengers, while Southeast Asian Airlines, which was recently acquired by Tiger Airways, flew 124,468 passengers.
In its December report, the International Air Transport Association projected that 2013 would see 4.5% growth in Asia Pacific passenger markets, and 1.4% growth in cargo demand, resulting in higher profits of $8.4 billion against $6.7 billion in 2012.
Data from the agency showed that 2012 passenger volume in Asia Pacific rose 5.2%, stronger than the 4% recorded in 2011 and at par with global growth of 5.3%.
It added that carriers in the Asia Pacific, including those in the Philippines, booked a capacity expansion of 3% in 2012, and kept their load factors at a healthy average of 77.5%.
International passenger demand grew 6% in 2012, with the Middle East posting the fastest growth of 15.4%, followed by Latin America (8.4%), Africa (7.5%), Europe (5.3%), and Asia Pacific (5.2%).
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