Cebu Pacific
Cebu Pacific announced flight cancellations for May, citing “unprecedented level of disruption to its operations.”

By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

CEBU PACIFIC on Tuesday said it is canceling around ten flights a day this month, as part of efforts to streamline its operations.

“For the month of May, Cebu Pacific will be reducing approximately 10 flights a day out of a daily operations of 400 flights. Cebu Pacific is currently reviewing adjustments required for June and beyond,” Cebu Air, Inc., operator of the budget carrier, said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

On Monday evening, the Gokongwei-led airline said 58 round-trip flights until May 10 will be canceled. This is in addition to the 23 flight cancellations from April 28 to 30 earlier announced.

“Over the past few days, Cebu Pacific has seen an unprecedented level of disruption to its operations, and its passengers are experiencing extended delays and some on-the-spot cancellations. To create space in its schedule for operational recovery, minimize rolling delays and give passengers the chance to make alternate travel plans, Cebu Pacific has to temporarily reduce the number of its flights given the current operating conditions, particularly in its Manila hub,” it said.

Among the canceled flights are those linking Manila to Cebu, Dumaguete, Davao, Puerto Princesa, Tuguegarao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Caticlan, Butuan, Zamboanga, Bohol, Legazpi, Cagayan de Oro, Roxas, Ozamiz and General Santos. Flights linking Zamboanga to Cebu and Tawi-Tawi are also affected.

Asked if Cebu Pacific may face sanctions because of these flight cancellations, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said it may be too early to tell at this point as it has not received a full report of the situation.

“It’s too early to tell, because we’re still in the process of inquiring into the circumstances surrounding the cancellations. Like for example, they adverted to certain conditions in the airport, and we need specifics. So we asked them to detail those circumstances, then we are going to validate them, whether they are valid or not. And it’s only then that we could take action on whether they should be sanctioned or not,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla told BusinessWorld in a phone call Tuesday.

But the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), operator of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), expressed support for Cebu Pacific.

“If this is what it takes to address their operational constraints, so be it. We believe all factors were carefully considered by Cebu Pacific in reaching a decision as crucial as this,” MIAA General Manager Ed V. Monreal said in a statement Tuesday.

In exchange for the inconvenience, Cebu Pacific said passengers affected by the flight cancellations will be given a round-trip travel voucher that may be used to book an alternative flight.

Following Cebu Pacific’s rationalization efforts, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it will not be following the same initiative for its operations.

“In response to numerous queries from the public and our passengers, Philippine Airlines wishes to provide assurance that we are operating our full regular schedule of flights for both domestic and international route networks. Our flights and airport operations remain normal at our hubs in Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao,” it said in a statement Tuesday.