CEBU AIR, Inc., operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, is optimistic to maintain growth momentum until next year, as the company prepares to expand its network with additional destinations by yearend.

“Going into the fourth quarter, we remain optimistic as we saw our domestic market share at 55% in October despite challenges on fleet availability. Aside from that, we expect that by the end of the year, our system-wide network will be at 103% of pre-pandemic levels;” Michael B. Szucs, chief executive officer of Cebu Air, told the stock exchange on Tuesday.

The budget carrier is expecting to continue its financial and capacity growth through 2024 on the back of a systemwide network projection to exceed pre-pandemic capacity by yearend, Cebu Pacific said.

For the third quarter, Cebu Air recorded an attributable net income of P1.28 billion, reversing a net loss of P2.54 billion last year driven by higher travel demand.

The company is expecting to expand its overall capacity by the end of this year by flying to 60 destinations, over 100 routes, and reaching about 2,700 weekly flights, Mr. Szucs said.

The low-cost airline’s continued expansion will likely help sustain its growth momentum, Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Allan C. Arce said.

“[Cebu Pacific’s] low-cost business model makes it more affordable for passengers to travel. This is especially important in the Philippines, where many people are price sensitive,” Mr. Arce said in a Viber message.

For the three months to September,  the company reported total revenues of P23.34 billion, a 38.5% increase from P16.85 billion previously.

Cebu Pacific also anticipates to grow its seat capacity in 2024 by 5-8% growth.

“We continue to explore various opportunities to supplement the fleet and ensure operational resilience, including securing both brand new and used aircraft, as well as exploring aircraft leases,” Mr. Szucs said.

In September, Cebu Pacific said it would lower its fleet growth rate for 2024 as the engine maker Pratt and Whitney (P&W) inspects A320/321 NEO aircraft engines worldwide following suspected issues.

Further, it is expected to have at least 10 aircraft grounded by January and expand to 20 throughout 2024.

At the local bourse on Tuesday, shares in the company closed 75 centavos or 2.29% lower at P32 apiece. — Ashley Erika O. Jose