MANILA, Philippines – Budget carrier Cebu Pacific carried 7.5 million passengers in the first half of 2013, an 8% increase from the 6.9 million passengers it carried in the same period last year.
The Gokongwei-owned airline registered growth despite two runway mishaps that raised concerns about its safety standards.
Cebu Pacific said the volume of its international passengers grew 9%, while domestic passenger volume went up 7.5%.
Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and distribution, said strategic seat sales and continuous network expansion resulted in the positive numbers.
“Cebu Pacific will continue to grow its route network, so passengers will have the most flight options and the lowest fares available. This is a very exciting time for Cebu Pacific and our guests, as we take delivery of more brand-new aircraft and launch new routes in the coming months,” she said.
Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei earlier said June had been a difficult month for the airline.
On June 2, a Cebu Pacific plane overshot the runway of the Davao airport. About two weeks later, another aircraft of the company skidded off the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. No casualties were reported in both incidents however.
Growth in international passengers from several tourism markets such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and South Korea, boosted arrivals in the country, said Iyog.
Locally, she said the number of passengers flying within Mindanao rose 41%, while the number of passengers going to and from Aklan, Bacolod, Cebu and Iloilo also rose.
In the January to June period, Cebu Pacific launched flights from Manila to Bali (twice weekly), from Cebu to Masbate (thrice weekly) and from Cebu to Camiguin (4 times weekly).
The budget airline is slated to fly to and from Manila and Phuket, Thailand on August 16 as well as to and fro Manila and Dubai, UAE in October. Cebu Pacific will increase flight frequencies of its Hanoi and Guangzhou routes.
“By offering more routes and flights, we proudly remain consistent in contributing to the Philippines’ tourism goals. The accessibility of the country’s tourist destinations and connectivity abroad has always been a factor in our network expansion,” she added.
The airline aims to fly 15 million passengers this year but it has probably veered off the target because of the accidents. – Rappler.com