Cebu Pacific now Philippines largest airline

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Cebu Pacific (CEB) is now the Philippines’ largest airline by total number of passengers flown on domestic and international routes.

Based on Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) data, CEB flew 2,448,990 domestic and international passengers from January to March this year, almost 110,000 more than Philippine Airlines’ system-wide figures of 2,339,788.

CEB claimed the No. 1 domestic carrier last year when it captured 50 percent of the domestic market share. It remains the number one carrier in 2010, with 51 percent market share. It started operations only in 1996.

“Our consistent focus and commitment to offering the lowest fares for value service continue to pay off. We expect to grow even more in the coming years as we take delivery of more brand-new planes which we will use to expand our capacity, increase frequencies, and fly to more local and foreign destinations,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

CEB is buying 22 more 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery starting in Oct. this year till 2014, which by then would make the airline’s Airbus fleet the largest in the country as well.

The airline currently operates the youngest aircraft fleet in the country, composed of 21 Airbus and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft.

“Our expansion will drive our costs lower, benefiting the flying public with CEB’s trademark low fares,” said Iyog.

Last year, CEB flew 8.8 million domestic and international passengers, with a 31% year-on-year growth. This year, it expects the number to rise to 10 million. By 2013, CEB expects to carry a total of 15 million passengers, exceeding the capacity of the NAIA Terminal 3, its home base.

From the last quarter of 2010 onwards, CEB expects to strengthen its network of 33 domestic and 15 international destinations with more routes and increased frequencies. It just recently announced its newest Brunei route, slated to start this Aug. 21.

“We have driven down the cost of flying to allow more people to fly. In every new destination we fly to, we always offer the lowest fares, forcing other airlines to match our travel product. With every new route, we promote travel, trade and tourism at the same time,” she added.

The third largest low-cost carrier in Asia, CEB flies to the most number of destinations and routes in the Philippines, to the most ASEAN destinations and routes from the Philippines, and is the only low-cost carrier flying to all three major North Asian countries of Japan, China and South Korea.

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