Cebu Pacific may miss ’13 volume target


Cebu Pacific, the country’s biggest budget airline, could miss its passenger volume target this year, based on early indications, its top official said late Thursday.

The company, which carried 13.26 million passengers in 2012, was looking to grow this by about 13 percent to 15 million passengers this year.

“Although that remains our target, after the first quarter [results], we are going to be a little short,” Cebu Pacific CEO Lance Gokongwei told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

Cebu Pacific, which leads main rival Philippine Airlines in terms of domestic passenger volume, has been struck by landing mishaps in airports in Davao and Manila.

Gokongwei during the meeting highlighted the importance of making the airline “safer” after he was peppered with queries from shareholders and the media.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) last week ordered the suspension of two Cebu Pacific pilots over the June 2 incident in Davao International Airport as the regulator faulted the accident to pilot error.

None of the 165 passengers on that flight were harmed after the aircraft skidded off the runway before ending up 800 meters away, shutting down the airport for two days.

Calling the month of June a “difficult” time for the company, Gokongwei reiterated safety reforms that it would take.

“We will make our safe airline even safer. We have no other consideration,” Gokongwei said.

He said the company plans to beef up its pilot training program relating to landing and taking off in poor weather conditions.

He said Cebu Pacific had also tapped Airbus, which manufactures most of Cebu Pacific planes, to conduct an independent audit of its flight operations.

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