Philippines LCC Cebu Pacific posted a PHP518.4 million ($9.6 million) loss for the 2018 third quarter as rising costs, a weak peso against the US dollar and fleet expansions took their toll.

Cebu, which posted a PHP4.2 million net profit for the same period in 2017, saw revenue of PHP16.2 billion for the quarter ending September 30, but operating costs during the same period were PHP16.8 billion. The airline also saw a slight 0.5% drop in passengers to 4.75 million.

For the first nine months in 2018, the carrier still achieved a profit of PHP2.78 billion, albeit down 36.5% versus 2017.

Air cargo saw double digital revenue growth of 24.6%.

Cebu said operating costs grew 15.8% from PHP43.1 billion to PHP49.9 billion. Fuel costs rose by 28.3% to PHP18.7 billion.

The airline also pointed to the costs associated with an accelerated expansion plan. The airline has  acquired five Airbus A321ceos and three ATR72-600s this year and announced that it will lease five A320neos.

It is also noteworthy that the carrier flew fewer flights over the nine months, operating 103,393 flights versus 101,011 flights for the same period a year ago. RPKs declined by 0.3% and ASKs by 4%.

 Chen Chuanren,