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Cebu Pacific says 25,000 passengers affected by flight cancellations

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific on Monday estimated some 25,000 passengers affected by flight cancellations due to the impact of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai), with commercial flights between Manila to Surigao and Siargao suspended until February 2022.

In a virtual briefing, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and customer experience Candice Iyog said that out of the passengers affected, over 70% have self-managed their booking on the carrier’s "manage booking" portal.

Iyog said that in line with a notice to airmen (NOTAM), there will be no commercial flights between Manila and Surigao and Manila and Siargao until the end of February 2022.

Flights from Manila to Siargao are currently only for cargo, while return trips from Siargao to Manila are sweeper flights which would ferry home tourists stranded in the island due to the storm.

“The situation continues to evolve. We expect the situation to get better over time, but for now this is what we’re doing,” Iyog told reporters.

The carrier is looking to mount two sweeper flights from Siargao to Manila daily, which will need to be scheduled ahead of the 2 p.m. deadline given the limited capacity of the airport.

In the same briefing, Cebu Pacific said it has already resumed domestic operations to and from Cebu on Sunday, December 19, while international flights will start on Tuesday, December 21.

The airline is also working on mounting more flights into Butuan as an alternative for passengers in Surigao.

According to Iyog, Cebu Pacific is also having difficulties regarding their ground staff, as an estimated 600 of its employees have also been impacted by Odette.

“Before the typhoon, our December network was already at 60% of pre-covid levels. If we remove those routes, we expect the others to already be operating above 80% load factors even more,” she said.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled due to Odette, which left the Philippine area of responsibility on Saturday afternoon, after causing “total devastation” in areas under its path.—AOL, GMA News