Cebu Pacific Won't Reduce Fleet Despite Slow Pick-Up of Air Travel
Cebu Pacific has no plans to reduce its fleet despite mounting losses and restrictions on air travel still in place in the country.
The budget carrier said it intends to retain its fleet of 73 jets and turboprops.
“The 73 aircraft are for the full recovery of our network and we do want to go back to pre-Covid levels as soon as possible,” Cebu Pacific VP Candice Iyog said during a press briefing on Thursday.
Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has announced that it will reduce its fleet size by a quarter as part of its restructuring process after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.
But Cebu Pacific said it will start ramping up its domestic and international operations following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Iyog said the airline will increase frequencies to popular local destinations Boracay, Siargao, and Bohol, and will soon resume flights to Narita, Nagoya, and Fukuoka, among others.
“Domestic tourism will be the one leading the recovery process for us,” Iyog said. “We’re doing everything we can to support this. We are ready to ramp up as quickly as demand comes back.”
The VP added that the airline is in discussions with commercial aircraft manufacturer Airbus about delivery schedules, although she did not say how the company will move forward with its order of 16 long-range A330 neo aircraft, 10 A321 XLRs, and five A320 neo jets.
Only about half of Cebu Pacific’s fleet is currently being utilized for both passenger and cargo operations. Some jets are currently parked in Australia.
Iyog said Cebu Pacific currently operates at around 26 percent of its capacity pre-COVID. This will increase to 36 percent this month as more international flights are reintroduced and flights to domestic destinations are increased.
Based on its latest financial disclosures, Cebu Air Inc.’s net loss saw its net loss widening in the first six months of 2021 to P13.79 billion, or about 50.9 percent higher than the P9.14-billion loss it recorded during the same period last year.
Revenues were also 66 percent lower at P5.90 billion from P17.33 billion, no thanks to the declining earnings from its passengers and ancillary operations.
Cebu Pacific is a unit of JG Summit, which also owns Summit Publishing, the publisher of Esquire Philippines.