Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ leading airline, is prepared to meet higher travel demand in 2022 with the addition of six new aircraft to its fleet this year. In addition, the airline remains highly confident that the aviation and tourism industries are on the way to further recovery and growth, following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These industry insights were revealed during the Cebu Pacific Stakeholder Event, which was held online on December 7, 2021.
In his opening remarks, Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei said that the airline, which marked its 25th anniversary in 2021, had made “significant improvements” over the course of the year, referring to CEB’s flight network as well as its roster of products and services. According to Gokongwei, the pandemic was an “an opportunity to innovate and accelerate the transformation of our airline to make sure your experience with us remains safe and easy.”
He added that the acquisition of CEB’s first-ever A330neo, despite the ongoing pandemic, was a vote of confidence for the country’s economic recovery, as well as that of the tourism and aviation sectors. “We are optimistic that demand will continue to increase, and we want everyJuan to know that Cebu Pacific is more than ready to fly you safely to your desired destinations.”
With the delivery of its new planes, CEB reinforces its enviable reputation of having one of the youngest fleets in the world. As of December 1, 2021, the airline boasts an average fleet age of 5.94 years.
Addressing the airline’s stakeholders and partners, CEB Head of Strategy Alex Reyes commented, “We've already taken deliveries of the two A321neos, the A330, and the A320. Another A330neo, along with the ATR 72-600, is expected to arrive. We are among the few airlines in the world and the only one in the Philippines to take deliveries during the pandemic, which is a testament to CEB’s resilience, liquidity, and expected recovery as we enter 2022.”
The airline’s first A330neo was delivered on November 28, 2021, paving the way for CEB to become the greenest airline in Asia. This A330neo features 459 lightweight Recaro seats, which allows more travelers to be carried in a single flight than its rivals, thus resulting in the lowest carbon footprint per passenger. The eco-friendly plane uses 25% less fuel than previous generation aircraft, and consumes as little as 1.4 liters per seat per 100 kilometers.
CEB, which now operates above 60% of its pre-COVID domestic routes and capacity, has been ramping up its domestic and international networks. Following the easing of travel restrictions in the 4th quarter of 2021, it added more flights to key domestic destinations, namely, Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos.
In December, CEB raised its daily flights from Manila to Boracay to 11 times daily from nine times daily. Operations between Cebu and Manila have increased to 11 times daily from nine times daily while flights to Cagayan de Oro have ramped up to seven times daily from five times daily. Flights between Manila and Davao have also gone up to five times daily from three times daily, along with Manila-Bacolod’s 16 times weekly from its previous nine times weekly. CEB flights between Manila and Iloilo have also increased from twice daily to thrice daily.
For international destinations, Cebu Pacific has resumed its flights to Bangkok every Thursday and Saturday while it intends to resume its operations to Fukuoka every Tuesday and to Taiwan every Wednesday, within this month.
“We continue to rebuild our domestic and international network to support tourism growth in 2022 while continuing to promote safe and responsible travel. This is the only way to regain trust and confidence in travel, paving the way towards economic recovery,” said Candice Iyog, CEB vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who gave the closing remarks at the event, expressed gratitude to the airline for being a partner of the Department of Tourism in inspiring Filipinos to travel locally amidst the pandemic.
“We, in the Department of Tourism, believe that our days of despair are over as we’ve seen many encouraging signs in the last few weeks. This includes the continually dropping COVID case numbers, easing of alert levels and restrictions on mobility, and even the lessening of quarantine days for fully vaccinated Filipinos returning from overseas,” said Sec. Puyat.
“I would like to thank Cebu Pacific for being a staunch partner of the Department of Tourism. Your signature ‘Piso Fare’ promos have been a tremendous help to keeping Filipinos inspired to travel locally amidst the pandemic, which formed the backbone of our recovery strategy. And even before this crisis, 5J was a solid partner in promoting greater sustainability in our industry.”
CEB now operates with 100% vaccinated active flying crew. It has also been rated 7/7 stars by airlineratings.com for its COVID-19 compliance as it continues to implement a multi-layered approach to safety, in accordance with global aviation standards. These include daily extensive cleaning and disinfection protocols for all aircraft and facilities, antigen testing before duty for all frontliners and crew members, and contactless flight procedures. Its jet fleet is equipped with hospital-grade HEPA (High Efficiency Particular Arrestor) air filters, keeping viruses at bay.