Inside look: How Cebu Pacific ensures safe & affordable flights for everyone

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes to ensure your flight takes off smoothly? Cebu Pacific recently gave us a peek into its operations, emphasizing its unwavering dedication to making air travel accessible and affordable.

The low-cost carrier hosted an “Open House” event at its Airline Operations Center (AOC) in Pasay City, welcoming digital content creators to meet the individuals working tirelessly to ensure smooth travel experiences.

The event highlighted the intricate processes involved in operating flights safely while showcasing initiatives aimed at enhancing customer journeys and promoting sustainability within the aviation industry.

The Cebu Pacific Effect

Cebu Pacific’s impact on driving the Philippine economy by providing an affordable means of transporting Filipinos and cargo across the archipelago is nothing short of remarkable. This phenomenon, which AUP calls the “Cebu Pacific effect,” has been instrumental in the economic growth of various destinations.

One prime example is Siargao. Lao shared that the low-cost airline paved the way for Siargao’s tremendous economic boom, which started when Cebu Pacific launched its Cebu-Siargao route aboard the ATR 72 fleet.

Although the Siargao route was initially loss-making for the carrier, it eventually allowed more local and foreign tourists to discover Siargao as the surfing capital of the Philippines, contributing to a significant increase in tourism revenue and economic growth on the island.

Today, Cebu Pacific, through Cebgo, flies to Siargao 17x weekly from Manila, 24x weekly from Cebu, and 3x weekly from Davao.

Spotlighting “Moment Makers”

Cebu Pacific also emphasized its vibrant relationship with employees, affectionately called “Moment Makers.” The airline’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Felix Lopez, stressed their achievements in fostering inclusivity and career development for every employee.

Recently, Cebu Pacific was hailed as one of the top employers for fresh graduates in 2023 by Prosple, a prominent careers and education technology company. Moreover, the low-cost airline is Great Place To Work® certified.

The Brain of Cebu Pacific’s Operations

Moving on to more technical aspects, Michael Brady, Cebu Pacific Group Director for Network Control Centre (NCC) & Operations Support, offered a glimpse into the central nervous system of the low-cost carrier’s worldwide operations. The NCC houses the following teams:

  • Network Control: Responsible for monitoring and managing the airline’s flight schedules and network operations.
  • Maintenance Control Center: Oversees the maintenance and technical operations of the aircraft fleet.
  • Crew Control: Manages the scheduling and assignment of flight crews.
  • Maintenance Control Center: Oversees the maintenance and technical operations of the aircraft fleet.
  • Centralized Load Control: Ensures proper weight and balance calculations for each flight.
  • Flight Dispatch: Provides operational support and flight planning for pilots
  • NCC Airport Services: Coordinates ground handling operations at airports.
  • Customer Operations: Handles customer inquiries, complaints, and service recovery efforts.
  • Customer Journey Team: Focuses on improving the passenger experience from check-in to baggage claim.
  • Cargo Capacity Control: Manages the airline’s cargo operations and capacity.

Each team under the NCC ensures that operations within Cebu Pacific’s network function as efficiently as possible to move people from one destination to another.

The more recently established Customer Journey Management Team has proved crucial in improving Cebu Pacific’s passenger experience, from check-in at the departure point to baggage claim at the destination. This team is in charge of monitoring landside operations to guarantee a hassle-free journey for passengers.

The NCC also features live data on all Cebu Pacific flights. Screens display the number of flights and passengers for the day, on-time performance, network-wide load factor, live footage of ramp operations, worldwide weather information, and live Cebu Pacific aircraft in-flight.

Just like aviation enthusiasts, Cebu Pacific also utilizes familiar tools. Displayed on widescreen monitors are a live flight map of the Philippine flight information region (FIR) using FlightRadar24 and ground movement tracking using FlightAware’s SkyAware.

Cebu Pacific monitors more than 400 flights daily to 35 domestic and 24 international destinations. During the visit on April 4, the airline flew 430 flights.

Customer Service, a Top Priority

In 2017, Cebu Pacific became the first airline in Asia to launch the Customer Command Center. This facility is the central hub for all customer concerns and feedback. Moment Makers are housed in this crucial office and deal with all kinds of worries Cebu Pacific guests may experience before, during, and after their flights.

The customer team also showcased Charlie, the airline’s artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, which processes the most common passenger queries. Staff in the command center continue to reinforce and monitor customer interactions with the chatbot for more complex issues.

Additionally, multiple screens display data analytics on real-time website visitors, the number of passenger concerns, interactions with Charlie, and more.

These are just some of the intricate systems in place to ensure a safe and memorable flight experience for passengers aboard Cebu Pacific.

Cebu Pacific also monitors the overall pulse of its customers through a word cloud, which displays the most popular key positive and negative phrases associated with the airline on social media.

Unsurprisingly, “cebpass” (referring to the CEB Super Pass) is the most trending keyword on the word cloud. And, as a preview for AUP’s followers, get this: Cebu Pacific is now preparing for the next iteration of the much-anticipated CEB Super Pass, which will be on sale sooner than you think.

Recent customer-focused improvements include extended travel voucher validity, removal of travel fund expiration dates, a more flexible baggage policy, and introducing self-service options at the airport.

In late 2023, the airline also launched its inaugural flight to Da Nang, Vietnam, offering more travel options for passengers.

AvGeek Paradise

One of the most exciting venues inside the AOC is what Cebu Pacific fondly calls the “Room of Requirement” (for those familiar with the Harry Potter series, this reference will make sense). The room is a hub for Moment Makers to host various activities, from birthdays to meetings. The most remarkable detail? It offers a mesmerizing view of Runway 13/31 and Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 3 and 4.

View from Cebu Pacific’s “Room of Requirement”

As an aviation enthusiast, it’s the place where I enjoyed my time the most and stayed the longest. One can watch planes taking off and landing on the runways, observing the entire orchestrated operation. It truly is an organized chaos.

Having visited and met the people behind Cebu Pacific’s operations made us deeply appreciate what goes on behind the curtains in this complex airline industry. So, the next time you’re flying on any airplane anywhere in the world, take a moment to remember and appreciate the people who worked tirelessly to make your flight possible.

Dirk Andrei Salcedo Avatar

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