BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific announced on Wednesday that it is increasing flights from Manila to Bacolod starting Dec. 16 to address the rising travel demand.

There will be a total of 16 Manila-Bacolod flights per week starting Dec. 16, the budget carrier said in an e-mailed statement, noting that there is a “need for additional frequencies in order to reduce fares.”

The airline said it is currently operating Manila-Bacolod flights “9x weekly (1x daily plus 2x weekly for fully-vaxxed [vaccinated] pax).”

Cebu Pacific currently operates above 60% of its pre-pandemic domestic network and capacity. The company expects to operate 84% of its pre-pandemic domestic capacity in 2022.

“To date, about 51.65% of Negros Occidental’s target population have received the first dose of COVID vaccine, based on the data of Department of Health Region 6 as of Dec. 6,” the airline noted.

“To support inoculation efforts, Cebu Pacific will continue to provide a waiver of fees for 5kg excess baggage until Jan. 15, 2022, exclusively for fully-vaccinated passengers flying to and from Bacolod with pre-purchased baggage,” it added. Every Tuesday, the airline also operates a once-weekly flight between Cebu and Bacolod.

“We remain committed to rebuilding the public’s trust and confidence in air travel, and we will continue to collaborate with the government to achieve this goal,” said Michael Ivan Shau, chief corporate affairs officer at Cebu Pacific.

The airline has added more flights to Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos as a result of the relaxation of travel restrictions. — Arjay L. Balinbin