Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cebu Pacific Airlines

Anyone who frequently flies with Cebu Pacific Airlines will nominate John and Lance Gokongwei for a Ramon Magsaysay Award (many many times referred to as the Asian Nobel). This upstart airline is truly making it possible for every Juan to fly. It also gives non-traditional politicians a chance to compete with those trapos with their own fleet of airplanes. Check out their deal: you can book your flight online using their extremely friendly website, print your ticket, ride in a brand new Airbus, potentially win one of their cheesy prizes through their onboard fun flight games and until a month ago, drink free C2 (a flavored drink). All for PhP 1600 ($32) one way to Bacolod. If it were not for the fuel surcharge and the various taxes the regular price would have been PhP 580 ($12).

They have 4 flights daily to Bacolod and the aircraft is often full. No frills. No newspapers, no coffee, no frequent flier miles. Minor inconveniences compared to the ease of planning your flights at any time of the day and you don't get charged for using your credit card (explanation: many establishments here pass the credit card transaction fee normally borne by the seller to the customer!).

The Gokongweis have a big hurdle in Government. Taxes and duties almost equal the airfare at times. The Manila Domestic Airport is a disgrace. Every departing passenger is made to pay PhP 200 ($4). Where all that money goes is a mystery because the airport surely does not betray any appearance of luxury. The food that can be purchased inside the lounge is overpriced and the entire male population is serviced by three (3) urinals. Like most government facilities, toilet tissue is a rare commodity.

The Gokongweis demonstrate that there are a lot of money-making opportunities even in a country with a struggling economy. Billions of dollars in profit may be realized in relatively honest fashion. During the Marcos dictatorship, the Philippine Airlines, "Asia's First Airline" was nationalized and conveniently used as a cash cow and private charter service by those who held absolute power. It was run into the ground until another Taipan rescued it.

Go Cebu Pacific!

1 comment:

OFW said...

Thank God for LCC's(low cost carriers) like Cebupacific,Tiger and Air Asia. OFW's like me can now go home to our love ones 3-4 times/year and even more with enough overtime income. Before I can only afford to visit my family 1-2x/year. The drawback is that only 20 kg of checked in luggage per passenger is allowed.Anything over that is $5/kg. If LCC's become the norm of air travel in the future then it will start the demise of bulky Balikbayan box carrying pinoy travellers.