From L-R: Abe Tolentino, President, STOA (Siargao Tourism Operations Association); Art Boncato Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination and Resource Generation, DOT (Department of Tourism); Candice Iyog, Vice president for Marketing & Distribution, Cebu Pacific.
The Philippines' leading carrier, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), is pushing forward with initiatives that aim reduce the impact of its operations on the environment. Foremost of these is the carrier's investment in 32 brand-new fuel-efficient Airbus A321neo aircraft, which has demonstrated a remarkable reduction in fuel burn per seat.
Speaking at the Routes Asia conference in Cebu, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog announced the carrier has placed an 'ecoplane' seal on its first A321neo aircraft to highlight its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint. Subsequent arrivals of the A321neo—of which five more are expected in 2019, would also bear the same 'ecoplane' seal.
CEB aircraft with the 'ecoplane' seal.
"On actual commercial flights, the A321neo has demonstrated a 35% reduction in fuel burn reduction per passenger for the same flight compared to our A320 aircraft. Through our 'Juan Effect' program, we are committed to investing in game-changing aircraft that can fly passengers farther and faster at less fuel burn. We specify very high grade fittings for our aircraft to ensure that we have the most efficient operation giving the lowest possible emissions. We have also adopted technology that improves our operational efficiency, which down the line will also help reduce our impact on the environment."
"Juan Effect" is the sustainable tourism program of Cebu Pacific, in partnership with the Department of Tourism. Its goal is to mitigate the impact of tourism on the environment. "Juan Effect" engages travelers and local stakeholders, raising awareness about their responsibilities as tourists and encourages them to make a difference by changing one daily habit.
Cebu Pacific is also set to install solar panels at its main operation center in Manila, which will generate up to 540 kilowatts of electricity. This will enable the carrier to source 20% of its electricity requirements from renewable energy by 2020.
The carrier has replaced all non-recyclable plastic spoons, forks, stirrers and cups with sustainable alternatives for inflight catering on all its domestic and international flights. Cebu Pacific mounts about 400 flights daily.
"Shifting to eco-friendly utensils for our inflight catering has increased cost by 46%, but results to 460,000 less pieces of single-use plastic being thrown out every month. We are working on further rationalizing plastic use inflight. While alternatives cost more, we feel that the investment is worth it."
Through its cooperation and collaboration with the government and local stakeholders, Cebu Pacific has rolled out the "Juan Effect" program in the prime tourist spots of Boracay and Siargao. These on ground initiatives have helped spur more concrete action to ensure the islands are maintained despite the influx of tourists.
"Tourism is good. It creates jobs and spurs economic development. But we all need to ease the negative impact of tourism and balance the social and environmental concerns with its economic benefits."
In the Philippines, tourism accounts for 12.2% of Gross Domestic Product and generates employment for at least five million people.