BUDGET CARRIER Cebu Pacific is sending four more aircraft to Alice Springs, Australia as part of its cost-cutting measures, a company official said.

“Confirming storage of four ATR aircraft. Now on their way to Alice Springs,” Candice A. Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice-president for marketing and customer service, told BusinessWorld in a phone message on Thursday.

On July 24, the budget carrier, operated by publicly listed Cebu Air, Inc., announced it had sent nine of its aircraft to Australia for “indefinite storage.”

Seven Airbus A321CEOs and two A330s are now at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage in Alice Springs, Australia, Ms. Iyog said in a recent virtual media briefing.

Cebu Pacific currently utilizes about 50% of its fleet on a rotational basis to serve between 40 to 50 flights daily, representing 10% of its pre-pandemic network, which peaked at approximately 420 flights per day, she said.

The budget airline has a total of 75 aircraft, including those parked in Australia.

The budget carrier is set to cut over 800 jobs this month, as it expects travel recovery to happen over a longer period, with the pandemic “negatively impacting” the entire aviation sector.

In March, the company decided to let go of its 150 newly hired flight attendants as reduced flights entail “less opportunity for them to gain in-flight experience.”

The budget airline reported a net profit of P9.12 billion in 2019, sharply higher than the 2018 level, mainly driven by the passenger business, which accounted for revenue of P61.68 billion, up 13.7%.

The company registered a net loss of P1.18 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

On Thursday, shares in Cebu Air went down 4.41% to close at P37.90 each. — Arjay L. Balinbin