By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

CEBU Air, Inc., operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, recorded a third-quarter attributable net income of P1.28 billion, reversing a net loss of P2.54 billion last year driven by higher travel demand.

In a stock exchange disclosure, the company reported total revenues of P23.34 billion for the period, a 38.5% increase from the P16.85 billion previously.

Passenger revenues accounted for the bulk of its gross revenue for the three months to September, amounting to P16.01 billion of its total bottom line.

Cargo revenues amounted to P971.95 million, while ancillary revenues accounted for P6.37 billion.

For the quarter, the company reported transporting a total of 5.3 million passengers over 35,000 flights, higher by 27% and 18%, respectively.

The company said its international operations remain robust, having flown more than a million international passengers for the period, while it flew four million domestic passengers in the third quarter.

“CEB continued its financial recovery in the third quarter, and we remain optimistic about its future growth,” Mark Julius V. Cezar, chief financial officer, and compliance officer of Cebu Air, said in a media release.

The budget carrier’s strong performance for the period may continue due to the growing demand for both domestic and international travel, according to an analyst.

“There are a few factors that suggest that the company is well-positioned for growth. The Philippines has a growing population and a young middle class, which is driving demand for both domestic and international travel,” Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Allan C. Arce said in a Viber message to BusinessWorld on Monday.

For the nine months to September, Cebu Air recorded an attributable net income of P5.03 billion, reversing its net loss of P12.05 billion last year.

Consolidated revenue for the period climbed 78.3% to P66.90 billion from P37.53 billion.

Passenger revenues for the first nine months went up to P46.13 billion, more than double the P22.48 billion previously.

Ancillary revenues also increased to P17.79 billion, up 88.7% from the P9.43 billion last year.

Revenues from cargo, however, declined to P2.97 billion, down by 47.1% from the P5.61 billion previously.

“The airline industry would benefit from the further recovery of the foreign and local tourism businesses and other related industries,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Mr. Ricafort said that the airline industry, in general, would benefit from the downward trend of global crude oil and jet prices.

To recall, the Energy department said that lower oil prices may likely continue until yearend due to lower demand and increasing production.

At the local bourse on Monday, shares in the company closed 40 centavos higher or 1.24% at P32.75 apiece.