Manila airport now just outside World Top 50; Cebu Pacific driving growth in domestic market

Manila to Beijing....in sneekers and those trademark yellow shirts

Manila to Beijing....in sneekers and those trademark yellow shirts – the send off for Cebu Pacific’s first passengers to Beijing on 5 September 2010. The assembled well-wishers are: Manila international Airport Authority Terminal 3 Manager Florencio Montalbo, Cebu’s Director for External Affairs Inez Jose, Cebu’s Chief Executive Adviser Garry Kingshott, Undersecretary for Civil Aviation Glicerio Sicat, Civil Aeronautics Board Chief Atty Maria Moro, Cebu’s Director for Airport Services Bing Stoifl, MIAA Senior Assistant General Manager Antonio Bautista, and CAB Legal Division Chief Atty Wyrlou Samodio.

According to ACI, Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport was ranked only just outside the Top 50 of the world’s busiest airports in 2009, handling just over 24 million passengers. Since 2001, traffic at the busiest airport in the Philippines has grown by almost 90%, driven primarily by a growth in domestic demand. This has been supported by the rapid growth of Cebu Pacific, a low-cost airline which now operates to more domestic destinations from Manila than Philippine Airlines.

Source: ICAO

Source: ICAO

In 2009, while airport traffic as a whole grew by 8%, domestic demand surged by 18% while international traffic fell by under 1%. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are the airport’s two dominant carriers accounting for almost 60% of all flights and scheduled seat capacity. While Cebu Pacific offers a wider range of domestic destinations, Philippine Airlines offers a greater choice of international destinations.

Airline Frequency share Capacity Share Routes (Dom/Int)
Philippine Airlines 24.0% 30.5% 43 (19/24)
Cebu Pacific 32.2% 29.0% 42 (27/15)
Air Philippines (Airphil Express) 13.9% 9.1% 19 (18/1)
Zestair 7.7% 4.9% 18 (18/0)
Cathay Pacific 1.7% 3.8% 1 (0/1)
Singapore Airlines 1.3% 2.5% 1 (0/1)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 December 2010

Airphil Express used to be known as Air Philippines, but that carrier ceased operations at the end of August 2009. Air Philippines returned to operations at the end of March 2010 under the new name and with a fleet of two A320s and eight Q300/Q400 aircraft. The airline is closely linked with the national carrier Philippine Airlines.

Beijing to Manila: smart business attire (although the Philippines ambassador to China, Francisco Benedicto – centre – wears the tie-less uniform of a low cost carrier CEO). His Excellency is joined by Cebu’s VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog, Beijing Aviation Ground Services Company Deputy General Manager ST Tan, Beijing Capital International Airport’s  Operations Director Kong Yue, and Cebu’s VP Flight Operations Capt. Victor Custodio.

Beijing to Manila: smart business attire (although the Philippines' ambassador to China, Francisco Benedicto – centre – wears the tie-less uniform of a low cost carrier CEO). His Excellency is joined by Cebu’s VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog, Beijing Aviation Ground Services Company Deputy General Manager ST Tan, Beijing Capital International Airport’s Operations Director Kong Yue, and Cebu’s VP Flight Operations Capt. Victor Custodio.

International markets led by Hong Kong and Singapore

Around 70% of flights and 55% of seat capacity at Manila is dedicated to domestic services. The leading international markets for non-stop services are Hong Kong and Singapore, followed by Japan and Korea. The Singapore market is particularly competitive as it is served by Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar Asia, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways. Each of these carriers operates between one and four daily flights.

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 December 2010

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 December 2010

A total of 34 airlines operate scheduled services at the airport this winter. All three ‘MEB3’ carriers are present serving their hubs in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai with double daily flights. Three US carriers also serve the airport; Delta operates flights from the US via Nagoya and Tokyo in Japan, Continental has daily flights to Guam while Hawaiian Airlines (not surprisingly) serves Honolulu. For non-stop flights to the US mainland Philippine Airlines offers daily flights to both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The only European carrier present is KLM which offers daily non-stop flights to Amsterdam.

Beijing competition hots up with arrival of Air China and Cebu Pacific

During 2010, several new services have been started by airlines the most significant possibly being the addition of two more carriers on the Beijing route, previously a monopoly for Philippine Airlines. At the end of March Air China began operating three weekly non-stop flights and was joined at the beginning of September by Cebu Pacific which also started three weekly flights.

Other recent service additions have been Cebu Pacific to Brunei (21 August), Airphil Express to Zamboanga (1 October) and Singapore (27 October), Tiger Airways to Singapore (31 October), and Jeju Airlines to Seoul Incheon (24 November). All of these new routes suggest that when ACI releases its figures for 2010 Manila may indeed now be one of the world’s 50 busiest airports.

New routes already announced for 2011 include ANA to Tokyo (service resumption), Jetstar to Darwin, and Philippine Airlines to Delhi.


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