MANILA - Cebu Pacific is expecting to reach at least 38 percent of its pre-pandemic operating capacity in the fourth quarter driven mainly by domestic travel, its official said Thursday.
Domestic travel is likely to boost the recovery following the Department of Tourism's campaign to promote leisure travel in several islands in the country, Cebu Pacific vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience Candice Iyog told reporters in a virtual briefing.
“We expect to fly 38 percent of pre-COVID capacity… based on what we know today,” Iyog said.
"Domestic tourism is actually the one leading the recovery process for us. We’re doing everything we can to support this," she added.
To do this, the airline said it would increase flight frequencies in select island destinations including Bohol, Boracay, Siargao and Coron.
INCREASED FLIGHT FREQUENCIES BY OCTOBER
- Bora - 5x daily
- Bohol - 10x weekly
- Siargo -6x weekly
- Coron - daily by October
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier said at least 51.4 percent of tourism workers in the country were fully vaccinated.
International arrivals have yet to add to the aviation sector's recovery numbers due to the 2,000 limit in arrivals which has to be shared by all.
Cebu Pacific is currently flying to 9 international destinations with frequencies set to further increase in October.
However, Iyog said the cap on international arrivals should be removed since the limit is not even enough to even bring home stranded overseas Filipinos.
"Ideally there’s no cap, but I know that’s something we need to work towards. At the moment we’re these cap we’re not talking about inbound leisure travel. The cap is not enough to bring home Filipinos who could still be stranded abroad," she said.
"The appeal to lift the cap is really to address that need to bring home Filipinos, especially when we enter our traditional Christmas peak," she added.
On the mandatory quarantine for arriving international passengers, Iyog said it is being discussed in the technical working group.
The mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers, especially those fully vaccinated, should be reduced but it should be based on science and data, she said.
Philippine Airlines earlier said it asked the government to look into reducing the mandatory quarantine to 5 days from 10 days.
When asked if Cebu Pacific plans to cut its fleet, Iyog said there are "no plans."
The country's largest carrier has the fleet and the crew if in case the demand picks up during the Christmas season, she said.
Currently, the airline is operating 26 percent of its pre-pandemic operating capacity, Iyog said, adding that almost half of its 73 aircraft is operating.
Seven aircraft, meanwhile, are currently parked in Australia but are in the process of recommissioning, she said.