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Cebu Pacific keeps domestic fares low despite fuel increase

Gokongwei-led budget carrier Cebu Pacific is keeping its domestic airfares affordable despite rising fuel prices in a bid to sustain the recovery of passenger demand.

At a press briefing in Pasay City on Wednesday, Cebu Pacific vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience Candice Iyog said that the airline’s domestic fares are 26% cheaper in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

For July alone, Iyog said Cebu Pacific’s domestic fares are 9% lower than in July 2019.

The carriers fares are lower relative to the pre-pandemic levels despite the Civil Aeronautic Board’s (CAB) green light of bringing the airline’s fuel surcharge to Level 11 in July from Level 7 in June.

Under Level 11, the fuel surcharge per passenger ranges from P335 to P1,038 for flights within the Philippines and from P1,172.07  to P8,714.84 for international flights depending on the flight distance or destination.

Cebu Pacific chief financial officer Mark Cezar said the airline absorbs some of the fuel costs.

“We have to subsidize,” Cezar said.

For his part, Cebu Pacific chief commercial officer Xander Lao said, “We remain committed to offering the lowest fares across our network, and we are encouraged by past seat sale success rates so we will continue to stimulate travel through our promo fares.”

Cebu Pacific restored its pre-pandemic domestic capacity in April.

In a news release, the airline said it surpassed its December 2019 level for domestic capacity, as it registered 109% restoration in the first week of July 2022

For its pre-pandemic systemwide capacity, Cebu Pacific said it has restored 88% of its pre-pandemic level.

The airline said it now flies an average of 340 flights a day, covering 34 domestic and 18 international destinations.

This is equivalent to roughly 64,000 seats offered in a day, it said.

“We are pleased to see more people confidently flying again, not just within the Philippines but even abroad. This positive development has not only allowed us to carry more passengers, but also boosted our cargo service,” said Lao.—LDF, GMA News