Sun, 17 Oct 2021

MANILA-An executive of low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) assured on Thursday there will be no retrenchment this year, and that it will also not reduce its fleet as it gears for travel recovery.

"(There are) no retrenchment plans for Cebu Pacific," CEB vice president for marketing and customer experience Candice Iyog told reporters in a virtual presser.

It may be recalled that CEB had to retrench about 1,300 employees last year, as the airline industry was among the hardest hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Iyog said the airline is currently gearing for the gradual resumption of travel. Among the preparations is having its workforce vaccinated, as this helps in rebuilding trust in air travel.

Currently, 96 percent of CEB workforce were already inoculated, and Iyog said the company targets to complete the vaccination by October.

Compared to Philippine Airlines (PAL) that will slash fleet size by 25 percent, Iyog said CEB has no plans of fleet reduction. About half of CEB's 73 aircraft are operational.

The executive said that since the start of the implementation of general community quarantine (GCQ) with granular lockdown, CEB has had an average of 40 percent load factor.

CEB is cautiously optimistic, Iyog remarked, noting that passenger load has been improving.

With this development, the airline will expand flights to Siargao from five times to six times weekly; Boracay from four to five times daily; and Bohol from nine to 10 times weekly, by October.

CEB also plans to resume operations in several international destinations: daily flights to Dubai starting on September 30; twice weekly to Nagoya, Japan beginning October 2; Osaka on October 4; and Fukuoka on November 5.

Likewise, flights to Kuala Lumpur will resume on October 4.

Meanwhile, Iyog said the carrier has been continuously working with the government for repatriation flights. She commented that the airline prefers no passenger cap will be imposed on international airports like the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The country's main gateway has been imposing a cap of 2,000 inbound international passengers daily, in consideration of the quarantine capacity. "This cap is not enough to bring Filipinos, those stranded abroad, to the country," Iyog said.

The airline also hopes that the quarantine days for international travelers be reduced, she said. (PNA)

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