MANILA, Philippines – Despite caution over volatile fuel prices, the Philippine aviation industry expects passenger count to grow by double digits this year according to the head of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).
“There will be a continued double-digit growth this year in terms of travel for both domestic and international. We are seeing a growth of almost 12% in 2011,” said CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said on March 16.
Domestic traffic grew 13% last year from 16.55 million in 2010 to 18.76 million in 2011, according to CAB data. Figures for international traffic have yet to be released.
Arcilla partially attributed the growth to the airlines’ aggressive pricing strategies.
JG Summit’s Cebu Pacific topped the industry with 8,478,007 of 10,507,987 seats allocated in 2011, manifesting in a load factor of 81%.
Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines (PAL) came in with a 75% load factor with a total of 5,786,611 seats allocated, compared to 6,747,588 in 2010.
Arcilla explained that growth this year would come on the back of budget flight promos. He pointed out, “Travel has never been affordable these days.
Promotional fares give a major boost to industry growth.”
Arcilla admitted that jet fuel prices were making the aviation industry cautious about 2012 since surges in oil prices are “very unpredictable.”
But he pointed out that the effect of a price hike would hit carriers flying international routes versus those flying domestic ones. Furthermore, the domestic travel, is what he pointed to as “robust as ever notwithstanding fuel issues.” – Rappler.com