MANILA, Philippines — Airphil Express (APX) is expected to remain as the fastest growing low-cost carrier in the country despite the entry of new foreign airlines in the industry.
APX Senior Vice President for Marketing and Sales Alfredo Herrera said that while traffic growth from all Philippine carriers has increased by 11 percent in last year and would remain at double-digit this year, APX’s rise has been staggering
With the deployment of six A320s and eight Q300s/400s last year (its first full year of operations since its re-launch in 2009), APX’s market share has surged 353 percent to 1.9 million passengers in 2010. APX cornered 11 percent of the domestic market last year or nearly 4 times its market share of 2.9 percent in 2009, making it the country’s number three airline.
An independent industry think-tank, Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), said APX’s rapid growth has come at the expense of the top two players that have seen their market share decline amid increasing competition from new players.
Following its capacity expansion, APX’s market share has so far surged to 19 percent. APX’s market share is expected to expand further with its plan to add six more A320s before the end of the year.
Herrera said customers have responded positively to APX’s expansion and they expect demand to follow with its programmed expansion in 2012 (additional 5 A320s) and 2013 (another five A320s) to complete its 20- aircraft, $250 million expansion approved last year.
CAPA said that APX would continue to post the highest growth rates among Philippine low-cost carriers in the coming years despite expansion from existing local players and the entry of new players such as by South East Asian Airlines (SEAir) and AirAsia Air Asia.
``While APX now competes with Cebu Pacific on most of its domestic routes and to Singapore, it has tried to differentiate itself by offering some frills such as free check-in baggage. APX markets itself as a budget airline that provides 'low fares with a premium travel experience'. For example, in launching services to Singapore, APX decided to operate out of one of Changi Airport’s full-service terminals instead of using the budget terminal used by Cebu Pacific, Tiger and SEAir,'' said CAPA in is latest report.