Cebu Pacific eyes record 24 million passengers in 2023

By Elijah Felice Rosales | The Philippine Star
March 03, 2023

SINGAPORE – Budget carrier Cebu Pacific hopes to fly a record 24 million passengers this year, expressing confidence the resurgence in travel appetite would enable it to breach its all-time high.

In an interview with The STAR, Cebu Pacific CEO Mike Szucs said the airline expects to match, if not exceed, its previous high of 22.47 million passengers carried in 2019.

For 2023, Szucs said Cebu Pacific targets to serve as many as 24 million guests, capitalizing on the sustained rise in passenger bookings, as travelers complete trips that they had to postpone due to the pandemic.

“Ballpark figure, total passengers this year (would range) maybe around 23 million to 24 million. I think it would be 75 percent for domestic, 25 percent for international,” Szucs said.

Cebu Air Inc., operator of Cebu Pacific, has yet to release its operating statistics for 2022. Based on records from the Civil Aeronautics Board, however, Cebu Pacific and its regional unit Cebgo Inc. flew a total of 13.19 million passengers last year, of which 12.75 million are domestic guests and 435,841 are international travelers.

Prior to the pandemic, Cebu Pacific carried an all-time high 22.47 million passengers and posted a capacity of 26.01 million seats, for a load factor of 86.4 percent in 2019.

By the close of 2023, Cebu Pacific aims to rebalance passenger bookings to a 70:30 mix between domestic and international flights, especially as the low-cost carrier would bring in 15 additional aircraft to service both local and foreign routes.

“They (international routes) are reopening, but they are not just there yet. They are progressively reopening. By the end of the year, we would be close to the 70:30 mix in terms of seat capacity that we had pre-pandemic,” Szucs said.