Cebu Pacific sends 14 planes for storage
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Budget carrier Cebu Pacific has now sent a total of 14 aircraft for storage at Alice Springs in Australia, with more possibly eyed as travel demand is not expected to return to its robust state anytime soon.

On top of the 14 aircraft that have been sent so far, Cebu Pacific spokesperson Charo Logarta Lagamon said the next batch is still under study.

“We have a fleet of 75 aircraft. Because costs continue to be challenged, we have sent aircraft to Alice Springs along with many other airlines, and we are looking to send additional aircraft there for additional storage because obviously we do not see demand coming back in the immediate future,” Lagamon, who is set to leave the airline effective Aug. 15, said yesterday.

“We will have to store these aircraft in a more proper setting and in a cost efficient manner,” she said.

As part of its cost mitigation measures, Cebu Pacific last month said it sent nine aircraft to the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage at Alice Springs for storage.

“The best place to store aircraft is somewhere that is dry. This is a facility that stores aircraft because we need to make sure that it stores in a facility that will minimize damage or be equipped for storing aircraft so that once the demand comes back we can easily bring the aircraft back into the line,” Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and customer experience Candice Iyog earlier said.

Meanwhile, Lagamon said Cebu Pacific management and their counterparts in Airbus are currently in discussions on the adjustment in delivery or possible cancellation of some of the company's aircraft orders given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the aviation industry.

"This is subject to discussions with Airbus. But again, it's not only Cebu Pacific that is the only carrier in the world that is in talks with the manufacturers for the delay or adjustment of delivery schedules of these orders," she said.

Quoting Cebu Pacific president and CEO Lance Gokongwei, Lagamon said the airline is expecting challenging numbers in its second quarter financial results.

"This is on account of course of continuing quarantine. We are still unable to fly majority of our flights. We're only at 10 percent of what our capacity used to be," she said.

Lagamon said Cebu Pacific has canceled some 150 flights a week, or a total of about 300 flights, from Aug. 4 to Aug. 18 following the return of Metro Manila to modified enhanced community quarantine.

Cebu Pacific incurred a P1.18 billion net loss in the first quarter, a turnaround from the P3.36 billion net income it recorded in the same period last year, as travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic started taking its toll on its operations.

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