The Gokongwei-led carrier said it plans to grow its passenger base to over 13 million, 12 million in Manila, in the next three years, indicating that airport facilities need to be expanded to prevent any potential squeeze on tourism and trade.
Fueling this growth is the company’s planned acquisition of 10 new Airbus A320 aircraft in the next three years.
“Cebu Pacific’s rapid expansion was substantially helped by its transfer to terminal 3 in August 2008, when nobody else wanted to use it. We could not have grown this much had we stayed at the old domestic terminal, which has a capacity of only two million per year,” Cebu Pacific vice president for brand and marketing Candice Iyog said in a statement.
Terminal 3, she said, provided the space, convenience, and opportunity for the airline to really grow and serve its passengers. “Transiting passengers, for instance, could catch their connecting flights with ease since our domestic and international operations are under one roof, as are other airlines, which put everyone on equal footing,” she said.
“Our population is growing and Asia, including the Philippines, has been tagged as a growth area. We believe that our airports, being the welcoming gateway into our country, should be adequate now and in the future,” she added.
The Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) has said it plans to spend P40 billion in the next 10 years to expand Manila’s airport capacity to keep up with rising air traffic.
Miaa assistant general manager Tirso G. Serrano said that while Cebu Pacific’s operations alone will eventually be all that terminal 3 can take, the airport authority also had to think about the needs of other airlines flying out of Manila.
Manila’s current airport system, made up of three Naia terminals and the domestic terminal, have a total capacity of 33 million passengers a year. Last year, 24.5 million travelers passed through these four airports.
Last year, Cebu Pacific said it carried over 7.3 million passenger. This is 29-percent higher than its 5.7 million passengers the year before. This year, Cebu Pacific expects to carry more than 10 million passengers on the domestic and regional fronts.