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Travel curbs deepen Cebu Pacific loss to P22.2 billion

Aika Rey

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Travel curbs deepen Cebu Pacific loss to P22.2 billion

CEBU PACIFIC. The first of 32 A321neo aircraft ordered by Cebu Pacific takes off from Hamburg, Germany.

File photo from Cebu Pacific

Cebu Pacific says it operated an average of 76 flights daily in December 2020 – about 20% of its pre-pandemic operations

Cebu Air, listed operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, posted a P22.2-billion net loss in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic gutted the aviation industry.

In a disclosure to the local bourse on Tuesday, March 30, Cebu Air said the budget carrier’s revenues from January to December reached only P22.6 billion in 2020, 73% lower than in 2019.

Cargo operations contributed P5.4 billion, equivalent to 24% of Cebu Pacific’s total revenues in 2020.

Total operating expenses, meanwhile, narrowed by 40% to P43.4 billion, which the carrier attributed to lower fuel prices, layoffs, and operational efficiencies through digitalization efforts.

“With health and safety concerns resulting in the decrease of passenger confidence and heightened travel restrictions, [Cebu Air’s] operational and financial performance were severely affected,” it said in a statement.

The Philippines banned air travel for almost 3 months in 2020 as majority of cities and towns were placed under lockdown. A number of local governments also took time before opening up their borders as a safety precaution against COVID-19.

Pre-pandemic, Cebu Pacific used to operate about 400 flights a day.

In 2020, the budget carrier flew an average of 47 flights per day during the 3rd quarter to 76 flights daily in December. The figures for December were about 20% of pre-pandemic numbers.

“This growth was primarily domestic-driven and supplemented by cargo operations, which performed better than expected,” Cebu Air said.

For 2021, Cebu Pacific was able to raise P12.5 billion from a stock rights offer in addition to a P16-billion loan from various banks. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.