Budget travel is here to stay despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Cebu Pacific President and CEO Lance Gokongwei said Tuesday as more restrictions are eased across the country.
The "number one" job of airlines now is to restore public confidence in flying, Gokongwei said. Carriers need to consider protocols that are unique to each destination, he said.
"Prices by themselves are still fairly reasonable and we should expect them to remain the same since our job, number one right now, is to really help customers regain their confidence in flying," he told reportr.
"The prices are fairly low. Our issue is not price, our issue is volume."
Cebu Pacific continues to offer seat sales during the pandemic to restore confidence in air travel. Currently, Gokongwei said the airline flies some 6,000 passengers locally from the usual 20,000 before COVID-19.
The airline and tourism industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic as governments shut borders to control the spread of the disease.
Recently, Cebu Pacific experimented with a test before boarding scheme for local flights from Manila to General Santos City in the hopes that it could serve as a "model" for flights to other local destinations.
"Our intention really is to work with the different local governments so that their own respective rules are complied with and our passengers regain confidence," Gokongwei said.
Cebu Pacific first resumed local flights in June as the government began to ease stringent lockdowns. The airline recently announced that it would allow unlimited flight rebookings until March 2021 to accommodate evolving COVID-19 quarantines imposed by local and foreign governments.
(Editor's Note: Lance Gokongwei is president and CEO of JG Summit Holdings, which includes Cebu Pacific and Summit Media Group, which publishes reportr)