MANILA - Cebu Pacific said Tuesday its domestic flight capacity is now back to 60 percent this month compared to the pre-pandemic levels as passengers regain the confidence to fly again.
In fact, the capacity of some destinations has exceeded the 2019 level including Boracay, Cagayan de Oro and Tacloban, Cebu Pacific Chief Strategy Officer Alex Reyes said in a virtual briefing.
While the aviation industry has yet to fully recover, there is a “healthy spike” in demand, he said
"Policy environment today is more conducive to travel which means we are seeing a very healthy restoration of travel demand," he added.
By 2022, the carrier expects domestic capacity to reach 84 percent while the international operation is seen to hit 34 percent compared to the pre-pandemic levels.
Domestic recovery is also likely to outpace the global rebound, he said.
The rising demand for local travel is "a sign of optimism from the traveling public," Cebu Pacific vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience Candice Iyog.
Cebu Pacific's sale events, especially the Piso sale (P1 sale), are seen to significantly spur tourism and economic activities in various parts of the country, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in the same forum.
Despite the consistent improvement in domestic travel, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal reminded the public to still observe minimum health protocols and to get vaccinated to aid in travel and economic recovery.
The Philippines has ramped up its inoculation drive to achieve its goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of the population by the end of the year.
With the gradual but consistent uptick in demand, Cebu Pacific said it has kept its aircraft order which is part of its "fleet refresh."
It aims to operate an all NEO (new engine option) fleet by 2027, Reyes said.
This year, Cebu Pacific said it would take in a total of 6 new aircraft including 2 A321neo, 1 A320neo, 2 A330neo and 1 ATR 72-600.
The country's largest airline recently received the more sustainable Airbus A330neo aircraft, which is part of its efforts of becoming the "greenest airline in Asia."
The 459-seater Airbus A33neo carries more passengers, uses 25 percent less fuel, consumes as little as 1.4 liters per seat per 100 kilometers, the airline said.
Cebu Pacific's network includes 33 domestic and 12 international destinations with a fleet of 73 aircraft.