Cebu Pacific (CEB) has recently made headlines with a significant surge in travel demand during the third quarter of 2023, marking a noteworthy milestone for the Gokongwei-led airline. In a Monday press release, the low-cost carrier shared it flew 1.3 million international passengers. This is a 228% increase from 2022. Furthermore, this is an impressive accomplishment.
The airline’s network recovery and the positive stance of more countries toward travellers significantly boosted international travel. CEB is actively expanding routes and services. This aligns with the global trend of increased mobility as the world gradually emerges from pandemic-related restrictions.
The surge in international travel demand was particularly prominent on routes frequented by overseas Filipino workers, a crucial demographic for Cebu Pacific. The airline’s commitment to serving the needs of this segment has evidently paid off during the reported quarter.
On the domestic front, CEB also experienced a positive trend, with approximately four million passengers flying via the airline in the third quarter. This marks a 5% year-on-year increase and notably surpasses the carrier’s pre-pandemic levels, signaling a strong rebound in domestic travel.
CEB highlighted a contributing factor to this domestic surge—changes in school calendars. The shift included scheduled graduation ceremonies and school breaks from June to August. It played a role in stimulating travel demand during this period.
More flights for CEB
Operationally, CEB soared to new heights, conducting 35,000 flights during the third quarter, marking an 18% increase year-on-year. The seat-load factor also witnessed a commendable improvement, rising by 9.7% year-on-year to an average of 83.7%.
Mark Cesar, Chief Finance Officer of CEB, expressed optimism about the future growth of the airline, indicating that the positive trajectory seen in Q3 is indicative of a broader recovery in the travel industry.
Financially, CEB reported robust total revenue of PHP 23.3 billion for Q3. This showcased a substantial 39% year-on-year increase and a 23% jump compared to the same period in 2019. Operating expenses, totaling almost PHP 21 billion, saw a 5% year-on-year increase. This increase is attributed to higher fuel costs and fleet-related expenses from additional aircraft.
The operating income reached PHP 2.4 billion, with a net income reported at PHP 1.3 billion. This underscores the airline’s resilience and adaptability in navigating the complexities of the aviation industry. As Cebu Pacific continues to chart a course toward recovery, these positive indicators position the airline for sustained growth in the post-pandemic landscape.