Philippines: Air fares to fall in November as government lowers fuel surcharge

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos planning to travel for the holiday season can expect air fares to go down next month, as airlines vow to reduce ticket prices with a lower fuel surcharge in place.

Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Philippines yesterday said they would comply with the directive of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to cut the fuel surcharge for November.

PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna said the airline would slash the fuel surcharge, which would be reflected in ticket prices in November.

“We are pleased to comply and we shall implement the adjustments to our fuel surcharge in line with the latest CAB directive. The adjusted fuel surcharge applies to tickets to be purchased in November,” she said.

Cebu Pacific chief commercial officer Xander Lao said the budget carrier would abide by the CAB’s order to bring down the fuel surcharge by a notch in November. In turn, passengers can expect ticket prices of the Gokongwei-led airline to go down as well.

“We look forward to the lower fuel surcharge, which should help make fares more affordable and stimulate air travel as we get nearer to the Christmas season,” Lao said.

AirAsia Philippines spokesman Steve Dailisan said the drop in fuel surcharge would drive demand for air travel, particularly for the upcoming holidays.

“For instance, this lowers the fuel surcharge cost to the metro cities of Cebu and Davao to P503 and P708, from P571 and P782 this October, respectively, [thus] we are expecting the new fuel surcharge rate to drive the demand further,” he added.

AirAsia Philippines hopes to raise its load factor to as high as 95 percent for domestic routes in the fourth quarter, meaning that at least nine in every 10 seats are booked during the period. As such, the Philippine unit of the Malaysian airline committed to introduce additional seat sales to boost demand.

In an advisory, CAB reduced fuel surcharge to Level 8 for November, from Level 9 in October, to reflect movements in the price of jet fuel. Level 8 translates to a fuel surcharge of P253 to P787 for domestic trips and P835.05 to P6,208.98 for international flights.

Fuel surcharge refers to the optional fee that airlines impose to recoup fuel costs and minimize financial losses caused by sudden surges in jet fuel rates.

Fuel surcharge may be reduced or even removed by CAB depending on the price movement of jet fuel in the international market.