INTERNATIONAL air passenger traffic more than doubled between 2007 and 2017, the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), an Australian airline industry think tank, said.
Citing data from the Civil Aeronautics Board, CAPA said Philippine international passenger traffic totaled 24.43 million people in 2017, growing rapidly from 11.5 million in 2007. The 2017 total is also up 36% from 2014.
“International passenger traffic grew by 11% in 2015 and 10% in 2016. The slightly faster 12% rate achieved in 2017 marked the fastest rate of growth since 2010, when the market grew by 12%,” it said.
It added the number of visitors to the Philippines rose to 6.62 million in 2017 from 4.83 million in 2014.
“A surging economy and the Philippines’ emergence as a popular tourist destination have driven rapid growth over the last three years. Visitor numbers to the Philippines have increased by 11% for three consecutive years,” the report said.
CAPA said the growth is coming from both international visitors and Filipinos traveling overseas. “Visitors account for slightly more than half of the total international passenger traffic and Filipinos (including overseas workers) account for slightly less than half.”
It said latest available data gives Philippine Airlines (PAL) the leading international passenger market share of 28%, followed by Cebu Pacific 20%.
Since 2012, the market has also been served by Philippines AirAsia, which had a 6% market share in 2017.
In 2018, CAPA expects PAL and Cebu Pacific to maintain control of the international market, driven by PAL taking delivery of new Airbus aircraft. It also noted that Cebu Pacific plans to grow its international seat capacity by 13%-15%.
“Cebu Pacific is expanding its A320 family fleet by seven aircraft in 2018; the growth aircraft are all A321s, which will be used to upgauge flights from A320s while the A320s are freed up for additional frequencies on existing routes, or new routes,” it added.
In the first quarter of 2018, PAL’s parent company PA Holdings, Inc. reported a net loss of P1.1 billion due to higher fuel prices, despite a 12.7% increase in revenue. Meanwhile, Cebu Air, Inc, operator of Cebu Pacific, reported a 12% increase in net profit to P1.437 billion. — Denise A. Valdez