Monday, 8 February 2010

Domestic air traffic increases in 2009 -- CAB

E. N. J. David

PASSENGERS on domestic flights rose 25% due to strong domestic tourism in 2009, as local cargo grew 8%, data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) released over the weekend showed.

Specifically, the number of domestic air passengers rose to 14.7 million from 11.8 million in 2008, as airlines increased the number available seats by a fourth to 18.96 million from 15.13 million. Domestic air cargo rose to 148 million kilograms from 136 million kg, the same data showed.

In an interview on Friday, CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla attributed the increase in domestic passengers to more leisure travels by locals. "The increase is really due to the fact that we have stronger domestic tourism now, coupled with the promo fares of airlines and the rise of budget carriers," he said.

CAB had earlier said that it and the country’s carriers are banking on growing local tourism to offset the global slump in international air travel.

Philippine Airlines experienced a 23% growth to 6 million domestic passengers last year from 4.9 million in 2008.

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific reported a 35% increase in domestic passengers to 7.2 million last year from 5.35 million in 2008.

The airline attributed the increase to its lower fares. "For Cebu Pacific, higher loads were brought about by successive seat sales and lowest year-round fares offered by the airline. We were able to stimulate travel despite the market conditions," said Cebu Pacific Vice-President Candice A. Iyog in a text message.

Zest Airways, Inc. more than doubled its domestic passengers to 872,223 from 374,145.

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