Cebu Pacific plans to expand capacity

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific plans to increase its network capacity in 2022—with domestic and international operations expected to rise to 84 percent and 39 percent of their pre-Covid levels, respectively—given the airline’s “cautious optimism” amid increased inoculation rates in the Philippines.

Alex Reyes, the company’s head of strategy, said Cebu Pacific expects demand for travel will remain on a growth path if 2021 was any indication. From operating at only 19 percent of its original capacity, Cebu Pacific has restored 60 percent of its pre-Covid capacity this month.

“Clearly on the domestic side, recovery will be much quicker with 84 percent of total output in 2022. We’re expecting that in some months we’ll actually be back to levels in 2020 on a month-on-month comparison. International side will be much slower [at 39 percent of total output],” Reyes said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

He added that the group is prepared to meet higher travel demand next year with the addition of six new aircraft to its fleet. Cebu Pacific will receive two A321neo (new engine option), one A320neo, two A330neo, and one ATR 72-600 this year.

“We’ve already taken deliveries of the two A321neos, the A330 and the A320. Another A330neo, along with the ATR 72-600, are expected to arrive. We are among the few airlines in the world and the only one in the Philippines to take deliveries during a pandemic, which is a testament to CEB’s resilience, liquidity, and expected recovery as we enter 2022,” Reyes said.

This month alone, Cebu Pacific is increasing its frequencies from Manila to Boracay, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao. It will also resume its flights to Fukuoka, Bangkok, and Taiwan.

“We continue to rebuild our domestic and international network to support tourism growth in 2022 while continuing to promote safe and responsible travel. This is the only way to regain trust and confidence in travel, paving the way towards economic recovery,” said Candice Iyog, VP for Marketing and Customer Experience at Cebu Pacific.

For her part, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat shared Cebu Pacific’s optimism for the strong recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, as demand for travel slowly comes back with reduced restrictions and higher vaccination rates.

“We, in the Department of Tourism, believe that our days of despair are over as we’ve seen many encouraging signs in the last few weeks. This includes the continually dropping Covid case numbers, easing of alert levels and restrictions on mobility, and even the lessening of quarantine days for fully vaccinated Filipinos returning from overseas,” Romulo-Puyat said.

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