More flight delays hit Cebu Pacific in April amid NAIA congestion means BUSINESS

MANILA - Cebu Pacific suffered from more flight delays last month because of congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Data from the country's largest budget airline showed that its on-time performance dropped to 64.5 percent last month from 70.1 percent in March, but better than April last year's 62.2 percent.

Cebu Pacific's on-time performance last month was the lowest since May last year at 66.6 percent.

In the first four months, the airline's performance stood at 74.63 percent, better than a year ago's 68.5 percent. These figures are based on Cebu Pacific's on-the-dot departures and departures within 15 minutes of schedule.

According to industry standards, a flight is considered to have departed on time if it left the designated bay no more than 15 minutes from the scheduled departure time.

In a text message, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing Candice Iyog blamed the drop in on-time performance on "air traffic" at Manila's airports.

Data from the Department of Transportation and Communications showed that aircraft movements - defined as takeoffs and landings - at NAIA went up to 255,000 in 2011 from 171,000 in 2006.

At the same time, the fleet of commercial airlines using NAIA doubled to 119 from only 62 in 2008. These aircraft serviced 30 million passengers last year, up from 18 million in 2006.

In the first quarter, Cebu Pacific flew 2.89 million passengers, up 11.9 percent from last year's 2.51 million. Of the total, domestic passengers numbered 2.13 million and international passengers, 672,506.

The airline's load factor stood at 87 percent, a 4.4 percent improvement from last year's 82.6 percent.