Cebu Pacific eyes 22 million passengers in 2018

ALL ABOARD. Cebu Pacific sets a higher passenger target in 2018 as it modernizes its fleet. File photo from Cebu Pacific

ALL ABOARD. Cebu Pacific sets a higher passenger target in 2018 as it modernizes its fleet.

File photo from Cebu Pacific

MANILA, Philippines – Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific set a high target for passengers this year despite the 6-month closure of Boracay, one of the country's top tourist draws.

"Cebu Pacific aims to fly 22 million passengers in 2018, aligned with the increase in domestic and international inbound tourists. The target is 12% over the actual number of passengers flown in 2017," the airline said in a statement on Thursday, April 26.

"The target takes into account the Boracay closure which we hope will be offset by redeployment of capacity to other domestic routes, additional frequency for Dubai for their summer travel season, our Batanes route, and the start of our Melbourne route," Cebu Pacific corporate communications director Charo Logarta-Lagamon told Rappler in a text message on the same day.

Earlier this month, Cebu Pacific announced it would cancel majority of its flights to and from Boracay due to the closure of the island, which began also on Thursday. The airline said it would maintain only 6 flights to and from Boracay for residents.

For full-year 2017, Cebu Pacific flew 19.7 million passengers, up 3% year-on-year.

The airline noted that "growth in domestic travel was relatively flat," but this was offset by the "number of international passengers expanding by almost 8% in 2017, with strong performance in key markets like Sydney, Dubai, Hong Kong, Narita, Taipei, and Incheon."

Cebu Pacific reported a net income of P7.9 billion in 2017, with passenger revenues up 7% and ancillary revenues – including baggage allowance, seat selection, and pre-ordered meals – up 15% year-on-year.

This came as fuel costs were 20% higher in 2017, while the average fare was up 4%, according to the airline.

Cebu Pacific also said it was expecting delivery of another 3 new Airbus A321ceos (current engine option) in the coming days to add to its current fleet of 62 aircraft.

The carrier has invested $4.9 billion for a total of 7 Airbus A321ceos and 32 Airbus A321neos (new engine option), with deliveries starting this year until 2022. – Rappler.com