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AirAsia PH passenger load up 23%

Budget carrier Philippines AirAsia carried more passengers in the first quarter of the year as it expanded capacity.

Its operator, Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia, released data showing that Philippines AirAsia carried 1.97 million passengers from January to March this year—a gain of 23 percent.

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It came on the back of a 17-percent increase in capacity to 2.1 million seats.

“The aggressive increase in capacity did not result in any dilution to the load. On the contrary, load factor further grew by 4 percentage points to 91 percent,” AirAsia Bhd said, referring to the occupancy of its flights.

Philippines AirAsia ended the first quarter with 23 Airbus A320s, up from 21 planes during the same period in 2018.

The budget airline has been gunning for increased market share, deciding late last year to forgo the imposition of a fuel surcharge to maintain ticket prices while its rivals sought to offset part of their surging fuel expenses.

This helped Philippines AirAsia grow volume by 30 percent to 6.87 million passengers in 2018. The move also hurt its bottomline as Philippines AirAsia booked a P2.94-billion loss last year, reversing a profit of P441.82 million in 2017.

Philippines AirAsia was established in 2012 with a fleet of two A320s operating out of Clark International Airport. Since then, it has opened hubs, including Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Its international destinations from Manila include Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Bali, Seoul, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau and Ho Chi Minh City.

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