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Cebu Pacific sees leap in daily flights

Salbert Garces (center) is recognized as the 200 millionth passenger of Cebu Pacific. He is flanked by Cebu Pacific President and CEO Lance Gokongwei (left) and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (right).

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific aims to restore 100 percent of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity by next month, as it ramps up its operations with the recent easing of travel restrictions.

Lance Y. Gokongwei, the airline’s president, said the carrier is celebrating its 26th anniversary with the expected strong demand for travel during the hot dry season months.

Already, the carrier reported a 200-percent surge in its average daily flights for both domestic and international combined – from about 100 flights per day in 2020, to about 300 at present.

“We are excited to safely fly everyJuan to their destinations so they could reunite with their families and loved ones, or pursue their business interests, or revisit tourist destinations. It is encouraging to see and feel travel confidence returning,” he said.

Demand for air travel is now returning back to pre-pandemic levels, as reflected by the increased flight frequencies of Cebu Pacific from key hubs in Manila, Boracay, and Cebu. Flights from these airports “have exceeded their 2019 flight frequencies.”

Currently, Cebu Pacific operates at 96 percent of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity. This allowed the carrier to carry more passengers and boost its cargo service which means faster and more efficient movement of goods across its widest domestic network.

“We thank our passengers for their continued trust, and we will endeavor to live true to our promise of providing safe, affordable, and accessible air travel for every Juan,” Gokongwei said.

Aside from ramping up its operations, Cebu Pacific also celebrated its anniversary with the marking of its 200 millionth passenger, named Salbert Garces, onboard its Manila-Cebu flight on Tuesday.

Cebu Pacific operates the widest domestic network in the Philippines covering 33 destinations, on top of its 14 international destinations. Its 74-strong fleet, one of the youngest in the world, includes 2 dedicated ATR freighters.

Cebu Air Inc., the operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, reported a P24.9-billion net loss in 2021 still due to the adverse effect of the pandemic in the global and local travel market.

The carrier said it booked P15.7 billion in revenues, which is 30 percent lower than the year prior, as its passenger operations continued to suffer due to the low demand for air travel in 2021.

“Amidst the losses and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, CEB stayed resilient and ensured its long-term sustainability. Aside from its cost saving initiatives, it successfully raised over $1.6 billion from various fund-raising initiatives,” the company said in a statement.

“This not only allowed for an even longer liquidity runway but also resulted to a stronger balance sheet with a cash balance of P19.6 billion, surpassing even the pre pandemic cash levels.”

Last year, the Gokongwei-led airline flew a total of 3.41 million passengers, a 32-percent decline partly due to the higher volumes recorded during the first quarter in 2020.

The company cushioned the effects of the decline in revenues by lowering its total operating expenses by 10 percent to P38.9 billion, while also beefing up its cargo operations, which posted a 20-percent increase to P6.5 billion.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes



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