Cebu Pacific expects to fly less than 15-M passengers in 2013
MANILA, Philippines - The slower pace of growth in air traffic in the 1st quarter has prompted officials of Cebu Pacific to warn that the budget carrier will not meet its target of 15 million passengers this 2013.
The Gokongwei-led airline said that they will still keep the annual target and aim to hit a level close to that. The airline also missed its 14 million target in 2012.
“That (15 million) remains our target although after the first quarter I think we will be a little bit short. It will be lower than 15 million but close to that," Cebu Pacific president and CEO Land Gokongwei said on the sidelines of operator Cebu Air Inc.'s annual stockholders meeting on Thursday, June 27.
Cebu Pacific flew 13.26 million in 2012, an 11% increase from 11.93 million in 2011 on the back of aggressive sale promotion for both domestic and international operations.
First quarter woes
The volume of Cebu Pacific's passengers inched up only 4.9% to 3.5 million in the 1st quarter from 3.4 million a year ago. This was less than 14 million goal for the year and the the double-digit growth in the volume of passengers booked a year ago.
The slower passenger growth from January to March defied the airline's strategy to increase capacity. The number of flights increased by 4.8% as the number of aircraft went up to 43 from 40.
Latest data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed that air traffic in the Philippines inched up 1.1% to 9.576 million passengers in the first quarter from a year-ago level of 9.47 million.
Domestic passengers declined 2.1% to 5.062 million during the period from 5.17 million a year ago. Cebu Pacific dominates the domestic airline business, flying 56% of the total passengers in 2012.
International passengers, on the other hand, grew 4.97% to 4.514 million from 4.47 million.
Cebu Pacific reported P1.16 billion net income in the first quarter, up 20% from the P962.4 million booked a year ago. Revenues during the quarter grew 12.9% to P10.54 billion from P9.34 billion.
The budget carrier figured in two airport incidents in June. The Davao airport, the country's 3rd busiest airport, was closed for two days after an Airbus A320-200 aircraft of Cebu Pacific skidded off the runway.
It also figured in another incident in Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila about a week after. No one was hurt.
Gokongwei has stressed that safety remains top priority. - Rappler.com