LOCAL carriers’ promotional seats and lowest fare offerings boosted domestic air traffic in the first quarter with passengers reaching 5.23 million, up from 5.14 million in the same period last year.
Data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed that budget carrier Cebu Pacific remains the preferred domestic airline, followed by PAL Express, AirAsia Zest, Tiger Airways, and Philippine Airlines.
Cebu Pacific carried 2.66 million passengers during the first quarter while PAL Express flew 1.17 million passengers. AirAsia Zest carried 500,139 passengers, Tiger Airways flew 456,122 passengers and Philippine Airlines had 327,716 passengers.
CEB vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog said the carrier will continue to explore and add flight frequencies or seat capacity to popular destinations.
Cebu Pacific Air and its wholly owned subsidiary TigerAir Philippines, rebranded recently as Cebgo, carried 1.5 million passengers here and abroad in March this year, up 11.7 percent compared to the same month last year.
In March, the Cebu Pacific Group operated approximately 2,800 weekly flights, utilizing a fleet of 55 aircraft which it said is one of the most modern fleets in the world.
CEB launched direct Kalibo to Hong Kong and Cebu to Tokyo flights, while Cebgo launched Manila to Legazpi and Cebu to Puerto Princesa flights.
CEB recently ramped up select Hong Kong and Singapore services from Manila, with additional seat capacity (from a 180-seater Airbus A320 to a 436-seater A330 aircraft).
To stimulate travel, the airline offered a 50 percent-off seat sale last May 3 or until seats last, for travel from July 1, 2015 to March 15, 2016.
Meanwhile, AirAsia earlier offered AirAsia Piso Fares with more than 3 million seats up for grabs for travel to over 20 countries across AirAsia Group’s wide route network, including AirAsia X.
With base fare starting from P1 and the scrapping of the fuel surcharge, guests only need to pay for airport taxes and fees when booking for this promotion to domestic and international destinations including Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Macau, Incheon (Seoul), Manila, Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Kalibo (Boracay), Tagbilaran (Bohol), Tacloban, Cebu and Davao. From Cebu, promo fares are also available for flights to Incheon (Seoul), Kota Kinabalu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
According to AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Joy Caneba, “With our new routes, affordable fares and exciting promotions, we aim to play a vital role in growing the market for first time travelers and new breed of frequent flyers.”
“We are offering 50-percent discount for trips scheduled for September 2015 to March 2016, which means when you plan your vacation early you spend less on airfares,” Caneba said.