Monday, November 29, 2010

Double-digit growth for PH air travel seen

Double-digit growth for PH air travel seen

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine air travel industry is expected to post double-digit growth this year, as the country’s improved economic conditions, which resulted in higher household incomes, drives demand.

This growth rate is expected to be sustained well into 2011 as stiffer competition among local airlines drives fares down, encouraging more people to travel by air.

“We’ve been consistently growing. The figures show that the growth is robust and there has been no let-up,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said in a recent interview.

He said both international and domestic passenger volumes had been going up sharply since the start of the year. The government’s adoption of a more liberal air policy, which allowed the entry of more players, has led to a more vibrant industry.

“Ten years ago, there was only one international airline, and Cebu Pacific only had domestic flights. Today, we have five major airlines all with international flights,” Arcilla said.

These airlines are PAL, its sister firm Air Philippines, budget carrier Cebu Pacific, Zest Airways and Southeast Asian Airlines, or SEAir.

“That’s the offshoot of increased competition. The riding public now has more options and better value for their money,” he said.

Data from the CAB showed domestic passenger traffic growing by 10.6 percent in the January- September period. International passenger data for the third quarter has not yet been released, but second-quarter data showed traffic going into and out of the Philippines grew 13.5 percent.

Despite recent crises that affected the industry, Arcilla said the country’s aviation sector growth should track the performance of the global aviation sector.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) earlier reported a 10.1-percent year-on-year increase in worldwide passenger demand in the month of October.

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