MANILA, SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 (STAR) By Mary Ann LL. Reyes - Low-fare airline Cebu Pacific (CEB) ranked first among Philippine carriers in carrying the most number of passengers for its combined domestic and international operations in the first half of the year.

Based on the Civil Aviation Board’s official report covering the six-month period, CEB flew 5.09 million passengers for combined domestic and international traffic, or 214,416 passengers more than Philippine Airlines (PAL). PAL carried 4.88 million passengers; Air Philippines Express flew 667,686; Zest Air, formerly known as Asian Spirit had 623,529 passengers; and Seair flew 132,638.

CEB, the airline brand of the Gokongwei-owned JG Summit Holdings, successfully maintained its position as the country’s largest carrier. It strongly dominated the domestic air travel market in the first half of the year with a market share of 48.7 percent, and carried 1.2 million passengers more than its closest competitor Philippine Airlines.

The company attributed its remarkable 26-percent international passenger base growth to its robust positions in Asian destinations such as Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Macau.

“Our continued expansion in Asia and in the Philippines coupled with our trademark low fares has stimulated travel and tourism. It also enabled affordable and accessible business travel opportunities for many small and medium enterprises. This is proof of our commitment to nation-building in making the Philippines a vibrant investment and tourism destination,” CEB vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog said.

She added that they expect to further boost combined domestic and international traffic in the last quarter of the year as CEB takes delivery of three brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft. These aircraft will be used to mount additional flights to Kota Kinabalu, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Seoul (Incheon).

The airline currently offers the most number of flights, routes and destinations from the Philippines to the ASEAN region.

CEB operates the youngest aircraft fleet in the country with 10 Airbus A319, 11 Airbus A320 and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft and will take delivery of three brand-new A320 aircraft in the last quarter of 2010. It operates the most extensive network in the country with 33 domestic and 16 international destinations.

Broadband connectivity seen as economic growth driver By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) Updated September 29, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (2) View comments

MANILA, Philippines - Amidst all the hoopla of social media and video downloads as the primary drivers of Internet usage, a strong link has been established between broadband connectivity and penetration to economic growth and progress.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) secretary general Dr. Hamadoun Touré, during the recent meeting by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, pointed to broadband as “the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology.”

“It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity, and underpin long-term economic competitiveness. It is also the most powerful tool we have at our disposal in our race to meet the Millennium Development Goals, which are now just five years away,” he said.

The ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues, and the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and service

Recent ITU research suggests a strong link between broadband penetration and economic growth. “In the 21st century, affordable, ubiquitous broadband networks will be as critical to social and economic prosperity as networks like transport, water and power. Broadband will serve as tomorrow’s fountain of innovation. It represents the ripening of the digital revolution, the fruits of which have yet to be invented or even imagined,” it said.

A World Bank- International Finance Corp. (IFC) report also stated that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high-speed Internet connections there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points in its online resource called Information and Communications for Development 2009, which examines how broadband is driving economic growth in developing countries.

True to its commitment to elevate the Filipino Internet experience and contribute to the country’s upward path to economic progress, SkyBroadband has launched 112 mbps, the fastest ultra high-speed plan available for residential customers. The service greatly surpasses SkyBroadband’s high-speed connections of six mbps and 12 mbps currently being offered to consumers.

With this introduction, SkyBroadband brings the Philippines to the next level — moving closer to first-world countries such as Japan.

In a survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) among 30 countries regarding the fastest advertised broadband speeds offered commercially, technologically-advanced Japan ranked the highest in the study, having an advertised average of 205 mbps overall.

Ray Montinola, Sky’s Marketing head explains: “With our 112 mbps service, Sky is positioned to deliver the fastest residential broadband speeds in the country. While the roll-out is in its initial stages, the ultra high-speed broadband offering is a testament that Sky is at the forefront of pushing greater broadband speeds that can improve access to productivity, entertainment and information sources and applications on the Internet.”

Montinola added that SkyBroadband is not just about speed. “We are also about the Internet experience with exclusive content that aims to entertain, educate and deliver relevant information to subscribers.”

“In the coming months, SkyBroadband will offer richer and more compelling content, leveraging on the content being offered through SkyCable and our sister company ABS-CBN, that will take full advantage of the high-speed broadband Internet that SkyBroadband delivers,” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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