By Emmie V. Abadilla
Cebu Pacific (CEB) ended 2018 with P74.1-billion revenues, up nine percent year on year, on the back of continued demand for air travel and robust growth in its cargo business.
The airline’s business continued growing amidst a challenging environment with high fuel prices, a volatile Philippine peso, rising interest rates, increased competition, the six-month closure of Boracay, and operational limitations in the country’s key airports.
CEB flew a total of 20.3 million passengers in 2018, up 2.7% versus 2017. On average, CEB flights were 85% full during the year, with the carrier mounting 390 flights daily.
Sustained growth in passenger revenue, up 9% at P54.3 billion plus a 6% growth in ancillary revenue drove revenue growth.
Cargo on the other hand, posted year on year double digit growth at 19%, as CEB carried 210 million kilos of cargo.
“Despite the pressures posed in 2018, we remained resilient,” according to Michael Ivan Shau, CEB Chief Operations Officer.
“We were able to expand our network by upgauging our flights touching congested airports. 2019 will be a different story though — we have already received the first of our fuel-efficient A321NEO orders from Airbus and we expect 10 more new generation aircraft this year. We also just announced four new domestic routes. 2019 is definitely the year we accelerate our growth,” he elaborated.
The challenging macro environment left CEB’s net income at P3.9 billion. Core net income — which strips away non-recurring expenses, reached P5.9 Billion.
‘We will continue to pursue our fleet upgauging strategy and invest in the latest aircraft technologies, as well as develop secondary hubs like Cebu and Clark,” Shau pledged.
“We will also continue to grow our cargo business with the incoming ATR freighters as well as continue our digital transformation for us to be more agile and adaptable to changing customer expectations.”
CEB currently offers flights to a total of 37 domestic and 26 international destinations, operating an extensive network across Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA.
Its 71-strong fleet is comprised of one A321NEO, 35 Airbus A320, seven Airbus A321CEO, eight Airbus A330, eight ATR 72-500 and 12 ATR 72-600 aircraft. The ATR aircraft are used by its subsidiary Cebgo for domestic destinations where jet operations are not possible.