BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific and flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) are adding more flights to key domestic destinations, as demand for air travel continues to rise amid looser travel restrictions.

Cebu Pacific, operated by Cebu Air. Inc., on Wednesday said it will increase the number of flights from Cebu to Iloilo and Tacloban.

“We have seen consistent demand for these routes, and we hope to keep expanding our footprint as more people confidently fly again,” Cebu Pacific Chief Commercial Officer Xander Lao said in an e-mailed statement.

As the Gokongwei-led carrier expands capacity at its hubs outside Metro Manila, there will be two more weekly flights for Cebu–Iloilo and Cebu–Tacloban routes, starting Aug. 5.

Weekly flight frequency for Cebu-Iloilo route will increase to nine times from seven times weekly.

Meanwhile, the Cebu–Tacloban route will increase to 16 times from 14 times weekly.

The budget carrier said it fully restored its pre-pandemic domestic capacity in April. “The airline surpassed its December 2019 level for domestic capacity, as it (registered) 109% restoration in (the first week of) July 2022,” Mr. Lao told reporters during a gathering last week.

Cebu Pacific currently operates an average of 340 flights a day, covering 34 domestic and 18 international destinations. This is equivalent to around 64,000 seats offered in a day, the airline said.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines said there will be additional flights between Manila and Basco (Batanes) by the end of July.

PAL said the airline aims to help promote local tourism, as part of economic recovery efforts.

From July 24, a new Sunday frequency will bring PAL’s Manila–Basco–Manila services to four flights weekly (every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday), it said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.

Starting Aug. 2, the Manila-Basco-Manila services will increase to seven weekly flights, giving travelers a full week of daily morning departures from both Manila and Basco, it added.

“PAL will continue to add more flights on other domestic routes to meet the travel needs of the flying public and promote tourism, while always prioritizing safety and health concerns,” PAL Senior Assistant Vice-President for Philippines Harry D. Inoferio said.

In May, the airline said it was on track to full restoration of pre-pandemic domestic flights.

As for the international flights, the airline expects to get back to 2019 levels — except for China market — by end of the year. — Arjay L. Balinbin