Cebu Pacific hopes to regain market share with new planes

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CEBU PACIFIC President Lance Y. Gokongwei

BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific is hoping to regain market share lost to domestic rivals, with the arrival of new aircraft this year.

“Beginning July, August, we’ve been growing double-digit already. So we expect that we should be maintaining that, if not growing our market share, from the third quarter of 2019,” Cebu Pacific President Lance Y. Gokongwei told reporters on Aug. 9.

“We don’t have a target market share per se, but we expect we’ll be about 52-53% of domestic,” he added.

Earlier this year, Mr. Gokongwei said the budget carrier is investing heavily on the acquisition of new planes as it looks to recover “lost market share” over the past two years.

Based on data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), Cebu Pacific and Cebgo had a combined passenger traffic of 13.95 million in 2018, or 51% of the total 27.28 million of all local carriers.

In 2017, the two Gokongwei-led carriers had a combined traffic of 13.72 million domestic passengers, or 55% of the market total. In 2016, Cebu Pacific and Cebgo held 57% of the domestic passenger market at 13.46 million.

“I think the next three years you’ll see us clawback a lot of the share we’ve lost,” Mr. Gokongwei said in January, noting the fleet expansion will help Cebu Pacific boost frequencies for high-demand routes.

Cebu Pacific is aiming to have 83 planes by end-2022, composed of eight Airbus A330s, 18 A320ceos (current engine option), five A320neos, seven A321ceos, 27 A321neos, 16 ATR 72-600s and two ATR CF.

Last June, it also ordered 10 Airbus A321 XLRs, five A320neos and 16 A330neos.

Mr. Gokongwei said seven planes are expected to arrive before yearend, while 15 aircraft are scheduled to arrive in the next five years.

“If you take a look at our fleet order, we’re really going to concentrate on our existing markets and short-haul international markets,” Cebu Pacific Vice-President for Commercial Planning Alexander G. Lao said.

He noted the focus is to mount flights from Cebu Pacific’s hubs in Clark and Cebu linking to domestic and international destinations already in its network.

“Our strategy is to keep increasing the total number of frequencies on thicker routes,” Mr. Lao said, referring to routes with higher demand such as those linking to North Asia and Southeast Asia.

Cebu Pacific operator Cebu Air, Inc. recorded a 116% growth in its net income in the first half at P7.14 billion, driven by its increased passenger volume and higher average fares. — Denise A. Valdez