Carriers, hotels: Brisk holiday travel as airfare cost steady

By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo / Special to the BusinessMirror

THE cost of airfare will likely be the same in December and not likely affect holiday vacation plans of the public.

In a text message to the BusinessMirror, Xander Lao, Chief Commercial Officer of low-cost flag carrier Cebu Pacific said, “While the cost of aviation jet fuel remains a huge factor in our operations, we are happy that there is no need to increase the fuel surcharge for December. This is especially significant as we approach the Christmas season, and expect more passengers to travel again.” CEB has the largest domestic network among local carriers.

He made this statement in response to the Civil Aeronautics Board’s advisory  on November 20 that “the fuel surcharge level for 1-31 December 2022 will be maintained at Level 8…. For fuel surcharge to be collected in equivalent currency, the applicable conversion rate for the same period is 1 USD-58.72PHP.” In November, the applicable conversion rate used was P58:05 to the greenback.

Level 8 will allow carriers to impose a surcharge between P253 and P787 on a one-way domestic ticket, and between P853 and P6,208 on a one-way international ticket, depending on the distance from the port of origin to the destination.

More expensive outbound travel

Margie Munsayac, Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Bluewater Resorts, said their properties “are running full occupancy for the holidays. This means our guests have bought their tickets in advance and vacation plans will not be affected.”

She noted, though, “The challenges will be for the coming months.” Bluewater Resorts are located in Cebu and Bohol. Munsayac is also chairperson of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association.

For her part, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. Executive Vice President  Peggy Angeles said their properties outside Metro Manila “are picking up well. Hopefully, the increase in airfares will not deter the travelers from proceeding with their travel/vacation plans.”

She noted, “It is still more expensive to go overseas, especially with the exchange rate. So my view is, revenge travel domestically will continue.” Outside of Metro Manila, SMHCC has hotels in Bacolod, Clark, Davao, and Iloilo under the Park Inn by Radisson brand; in Cebu under Radisson Blu; as well as Tagaytay and Batangas as Taal Vista Hotel and Pico Sands Hotel, respectively.

New local PAL routes

Meanwhile, pioneering flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it will also be able to keep airfares at a manageable level for the public’s welfare. Spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said, “We have ongoing program partnerships which provide promo rates that help ease the burden among our customers.”

She added, “We are ramping up flights in time for the holiday season. Travel appetite is evident as flights are generating high passenger turnout….We are ramping up new flights from our Cebu hub. On December 1, we are opening the Cebu-Cotabato-Tawi-Tawi route. On December 9, we are restoring our Cebu-Bangkok route. By December 16, we will launch our Cebu-Baguio flights and on December 19, our Cebu-Borongan route.”

Earlier, PAL announced revised terminal assignments for terminals 1 and 2 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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