Cebu Pacific, the low-cost carrier led by the Gokongwei group, has cut seven percent of its flights and increased its standby aircraft in response to a string of operational challenges.
ALSO READ: Rebookings, refunds, chatbots can’t conceal Cebu Pacific’s abuses: Being a budget airline is no excuse for Gokongwei’s neglect of ordinary Filipino passengers
The airline has been plagued by cancellations, delays, maintenance issues, and unfavorable weather conditions, prompting the need for strategic adjustments to minimize disruptions.
In a statement, Cebu Pacific explained that the sudden and unprecedented grounding of numerous aircraft has necessitated a revision of its flight schedule.
Cebu Pacific said three of its aircraft are currently grounded as a result of issues related to Pratt and Whitney engines. An additional five aircraft have been subject to long-term grounding due to various incidents.
While the airline expects to recover the five grounded aircraft in the coming months, it acknowledges that the impact of the Pratt and Whitney engine shortage will require strategic planning for an extended period.
Cebu Pacific said ground damage caused by runway debris has resulted in additional long-term grounding of aircraft, compounding the strain on the airline’s operations.
The Gokongwei-led budget carrier attributed the current predicament not only to fleet availability issues affecting the global aviation industry but also to specific environmental factors. It cited the higher occurrence of red lightning alerts during the rainy season as a contributing factor, leading to the suspension of flight and ground activities at the airport.
To mitigate the impact of these external challenges, Cebu Pacific has increased the number of standby aircraft from three to four, with plans to further expand to six by the end of the year.
Additionally, it has opted to lease additional aircraft, bolstering its operational resilience.
Recognizing the need to provide support during unforeseen events, Cebu Pacific has established a dedicated disruption management team. It has also bolstered its customer service capabilities by increasing the number of live agents available to assist passengers around the clock.
“We understand that it is our responsibility as a public service to manage these external issues and deliver on our promise to provide access to affordable and reliable flights. Unfortunately, the unprecedented issues we face have made it difficult to deliver on the customer promise and for this, we are deeply sorry,” Cebu Pacific said.