Cebu Air Inc (CEB: PSE) reported a first-quarter net profit of P1.1 billion, bouncing from a P7.6 billion net loss in the same period last year, driven by its strong passenger and ancillary revenues.
This is CEB’s first profitable quarter since the pandemic, as it generated total revenues of P20.9 billion, 211% higher than the first quarter last year. The steep growth was largely driven by recovery of its passenger business, which generated P14.3 billion, 352% higher year-on-year. This was followed by ancillary business which generated P5.46 billion, up 221% year-on-year.
CEB flew over 4.8 million passengers in the first quarter, 135% higher year-on-year. This drove seat load factor to jump to 83%, up 13 percentage points year-on-year.
CEB flew 32,000 flights in the first quarter, up 94% year-on-year. Operating expenses, on the other hand, increased only 63%, as increased utilization of aircraft and operating systems, coupled with higher productivity of crew and personnel, also contributed to the improvement of the airline’s profit margin.
Operating income turned positive to P1.24 billion in the first quarter from an operating loss of P5.34 billion in the same period last year.
CEB remains to have the largest network in the Philippines, flying to 34 local and 24 international destinations by end of the first quarter. With 60 routes and over 2,100 weekly flights, CEB’s domestic network was already operating above pre-pandemic levels during the first quarter. International network, on the other hand, continued to gain traction following the easing of travel requirements of north Asian countries. CEB also resumed flights to Melbourne and Macau and restarted flights to Hong Kong from Cebu during the quarter.
CEB expects that in the second quarter, it will exceed its pre-pandemic capacity on a systemwide basis, supported by an optimistic outlook as the tourism industry continues to recover, plus the strengthening of its Clark and Cebu hubs. CEB expects to reach 2019 international capacity levels during second quarter, while domestic operations will continue to grow with additional flight frequencies to various destinations, coupled with flight resumption of routes such as Manila – Laoag, Iloilo – Puerto Princesa, and Iloilo – Cagayan.