Cebu Pacific ‘still assessing the situation’

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) and low-cost carrier Philippines AirAsia, Inc. (AirAsia Philippines) said they have filed an application with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to impose a higher fuel surcharge in the coming month.

The CAB said it now allows airlines to impose a Level 12 fuel surcharge in August from Level 11 currently, citing a higher average price of jet fuel from June 10 to July 9 of P54.73 per liter.

“Airlines wishing to impose or collect fuel surcharge for the same period must file their application with this office on or before the effectivity period,” CAB Officer-in-Charge Maria Elben SL. Moro said in an advisory.

“We filed our application for authority to adjust fuel surcharge on passenger tickets to Level 12, the applicable fuel surcharge rate for August 2022 as authorized by CAB,” PAL Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna said in a phone message to BusinessWorld on Tuesday, when asked for an update.

Fuel surcharge is a tool used by airlines globally to transparently reflect the impact of fuel price volatility, she noted.

The flag carrier, she also said, will “remain faithful to the CAB matrix on fuel surcharge implementation.”

Under Level 12 of the CAB matrix, the fuel surcharge per passenger ranges from P389 to P1,137 for domestic flights and from P1,284.40 to P9,550.13 for international flights.

Under Level 11 currently, the fuel surcharge per passenger ranges from P335 to P1,038 for domestic flights and from P1,172.07 to P8,714.84 for international flights.

AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson and Head of Communications and Public Affairs Steve F. Dailisan said the low-cost airline has also “applied” for a higher fuel surcharge.

The airline will “continue to be true to its promise of affordable world-class flights, notwithstanding the adjustments in fuel surcharge cost.”

“AirAsia understands that this slight movement in the fuel surcharge cost might be of concern to some guests. This is why we complement this uptick with regular sale promos, such as the ongoing P77 base fare in select domestic and international routes and the upcoming AirAsia BIG Sale happening next week,” Mr. Dailisan said in a phone message.

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific, operated by Cebu Air, Inc., said it was still studying the situation.

“We are still assessing the situation. In the meantime, we are encouraging our customers to take advantage of Cebu Pacific seat sales which provide great value to passengers,” Cebu Pacific Chief Commercial Officer Xander Lao said in a statement to BusinessWorld.

Cebu Pacific Chief Financial Officer Mark V. Cezar said recently that the budget airline is still able to keep its fares lower this year than they were before the pandemic despite the higher levels of fuel surcharge being imposed.

The budget carrier absorbs some of the costs, he told reporters.