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March 22, 2016

Airfare war benefitting RP travellers — lawmaker

A blessing to Filipino air travelers, including overseas workers coming home for the holidays. This was how a lawmaker described the Christmas ‘airfare war’ that has prompted highly discounted tickets to domestic as well as international destinations.

“There’s no question Filipino air passengers are now feeling the great benefit of cheaper jet fuel prices,” said LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty, House deputy minority leader.

Air passengers are not the only ones gaining from falling jet fuel prices, which Ty said averaged $67 per barrel from January to September this year, down 44 percent from $120 per barrel in the same nine-month period in 2014.

“Our airlines are also making more money, thus allowing them to expand operations and employ more staff. Travel-related services are also being buoyed up,” he said.

Platts, the world’s leading energy information provider, quoted the price of jet fuel at $55.60 per barrel as of Dec. 4, down almost 10 percent from a month ago, and down nearly 36 percent from a year ago.

Citing new Platts estimates, Ty said airlines around the world are expected to realize some $89.2 billion in combined cost savings this year due to lower fuel prices, thus enabling them to offer cut-rate fares.

Both Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines (PAL) reported a 22-percent drop in their fuel costs from January to September this year compared to the same nine-month period in 2014.

“The only reason their fuel costs did not plunge any bigger is because they actually consumed more fuel during the period, after expanding their domestic as well as international routes,” Ty, a senior member of the House energy committee, said.

Last week, the lawmaker had said that the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to keep producing oil at current high levels is good news for an oil importing country like the Philippines, as it will keep a downward pressure on local fuel, electricity and transportation costs as well as consumer prices in general.





In its latest promotion, Cebu Pacific Air is offering domestic tickets as low as P1,088, and tickets averaging P5,554 to Guam, Bali, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo and Fukuoka.

Not to be outdone, Air Asia is offering domestic tickets as low as P1,299, and tickets averaging P2,689 to Seoul, Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, PAL is offering up to 40 percent off on round trip tickets to Manila from Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Guangzhou.

Buoyed by declining fuel costs, Cebu Air Inc., operator of Cebu Pacific Air, reported a net profit of P3.555 billion on gross revenue of P42.325 billion from January to September this year.

Net profit was up 71 percent versus the P2.079 billion the airline reported in the same nine-month period in 2014, while gross revenue was up almost 10 percent from P38.601 billion.

Cebu Pacific carried a total of 13.652 million passengers from January to September this year, up nine percent versus the 12.530 million it moved in the same three quarters in 2014.

Meanwhile, PAL Holdings Inc., operator of PAL, reported a net profit of P6.108 billion on gross revenue of P83.989 billion from January to September this year.

Net profit was up more than 25 times the P238 million the carrier reported in the same nine-month period in 2014, while gross revenue was up 12.5 percent from P74.645 billion.
 

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