AirAsia Philippines said Wednesday its volume of passengers jumped 167 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, as the government further eased travel restrictions.
The Philippine unit of Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline said it flew 180,971 passengers from July to September, up from 67,670 in the same period last year.
Load factor also increased 21 percentage points to 77 percent from 56 percent last year.
All AirAsia Philippines said its local destinations no longer required COVID-19 tests for fully-vaccinated individuals, lowering the cost for air travel. Nine of 11 destinations also opened their doors to leisure travelers.
“We are all set to win the post-pandemic recovery with the ongoing progress of the nationwide vaccination against COVID-19,” said Ricky Isla, chief executive of AirAsia Philippines.
“Now more than ever, we focus on what’s essential, and there is no letting go of opportunities that will enhance guests’ experience and customer journey,” he said.
Ray Berja, chief finance officer of AirAsia Philippines, said despite the growth in passenger traffic, the airline would continue to be cautiously optimistic by making sure it strikes a balance between cash burn and market demand.
“Our goal has always been to double down on productivity to manage cash flow and operate on break-even points to efficiently manage cash burn. I am most proud of our lifestyle of cash consciousness and mindset of cost efficiencies across AirAsia. The road to recovery will take a while but what’s definite is that the trajectory is up there, and comprehensive plans are on a push button mode,” he said.
AirAsia Philippines said to stimulate growth in the fourth quarter, it would double and triple its weekly flight frequencies to most destinations such as Caticlan, Iloilo, Tacloban, Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, and Cebu. It said it would retain its strong presence in Cagayan De Oro, Davao, Zamboanga, and General Santos.
AirAsia Philippines will also return to Hong Kong and Singapore in December to service overseas Filipino workers who will return home for the holidays.
“We support the appeal of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines to increase the daily cap for foreign arrivals from four thousand to ten thousand to complement the pent-up demand during the holidays,” Isla said.
“While there have been significant improvements in terms of travel restrictions, there is no room for complacency when it comes to observing the strictest health and safety protocols on ground and in flight,” he said.