Cebu Pacific to restore 30% of network in Q2
The airline is currently operating about 23 percent of its pre-COVID network, having already restored 89 percent of its domestic destinations.
STAR/ File

Cebu Pacific to restore 30% of network in Q2

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Budget carrier Cebu Pacific is eyeing to restore as much as 30 percent of its pre-COVID network in the second quarter in time for the summer season as more Filipinos express their readiness to travel again.

The airline is currently operating about 23 percent of its pre-COVID network, having already restored 89 percent of its domestic destinations.

Internationally, it currently operates flights to Dubai, Hongkong, Seoul, Narita, Nagoya and Singapore.

“On the summer network, our target is close to 30 percent of pre-COVID network,” Cebu Pacific director for financial analytics and investor relations Trina Asuncion said.

Based on a passenger survey conducted by the carrier last January, 19 percent of respondents indicated their intent to travel again by the second quarter compared to only 15 percent who are keen on traveling this month.

Majority or 28 percent, meanwhile, are looking to travel again in the fourth quarter, while 24 percent said they won’t be traveling until 2022.

“We’re quite happy to note that of the passengers we surveyed last January, 76 percent percent of respondents actually said  they plan to travel again this year,” Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and customer experience Candice Iyog said.

However, Iyog said it would continue to be a balancing act for the airline as far as opening up its network is concerned.

“What we do not want is to put too much there and then not have the demand to fill cause that will be a cash burn. We just have to make sure that we have a network that is just in time,” she said.

“So we are always calibrating. If there’s enough, we add. If not, we stop and we wait,” Iyog said.

At present, Asuncion said Cebu Pacific is seeing a good trend in passenger traffic, with  improvements being recorded on a month-on-month basis.

“When you look at it versus pre-COVID, we’re still way behind. But on a month-on-month trending basis, it looks quite nice, it’s progressing,” she said.

Cebu Pacific’s optimism in the recovery of air travel was also boosted by the IATF’s recent issuance of a new set of simplified requirements for domestic travel, stating that travel authorities and health certificates will no longer be needed.  Quarantine protocols will also be only required for those showing symptoms.

“This is progress. We’re very excited about this. Right now, what is promising is no more quarantine based on IATF guidelines. How that translates to various local government unit (LGU) executive orders is what’s important now,” Iyog said.

Iyog, however, said the protocols have not been implemented and rolled out across the network yet.

“Why? That’s because we need to wait for the various LGUs to issue their respective executive orders,   then we can adjust and change and implement the same. We believe that this is forthcoming. So we’re in this period now of going from the policy that came up from the IATF down now to implementing guidelines that will come from the LGUs,” she said.

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