Cebu Pacific has fully refunded at least PHP 7.7 billion (US$152 million) to its passengers for requests filed until June 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate the aviation industry. The airline said on Friday (6 August) that it has overhauled its refund processes and increased its refund-dedicated workforce, to process 991,764 refund requests with various forms of payment.
The topic of refunds has been a key one for airlines around the world that have not been able to operate full schedules due to various border closings and quarantines implemented by countries to stem the spread of the pandemic. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) early on in the pandemic said airlines “need time” to make good on refunds, saying airlines could not refund the estimated US$35 billion owed to passengers and still remain in business. Many airlines across the globe have issued vouchers for future travel, but that practice remains controversial.
For Cebu, the airline said the 100 percent refund completion rate excludes unsuccessful refund requests, such as bookings made through travel agencies that may have ceased operations and cash bookings that had incorrect bank details or were lacking bank details and other forms of validation. “Cebu Pacific remains concerned about the customers who have not been refunded,” the airline said in its statement announcing the refunds. “The airline is actively reaching out to these guests through the contact information made available during booking and is determined to refund passengers.”
“The COVID pandemic remains the most challenging crisis we’ve faced in recent times. We thank our guests for their patience and understanding and our teams for delivering on this important undertaking for our customers. We will continue to listen and improve our processes so we can deliver the best experience for everyJuan,” said Candice Iyog, vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience at Cebu Pacific.