Case Studies

How Cebu Pacific leverages next-generation payment solutions to fuel post-pandemic travel

The largest airline in the Philippines partners with CellPoint Digital to overcome evolving payment challenges as it bounces back from pandemic with domestic and international network growth.

In an Asia-Pacific aviation market that, according to IATA, represents 22.1% of total global revenue passenger kilometers and grew by 80% last year, the Southeast region is a critical engine of that growth. And one of Southeast Asia’s leading airlines is Cebu Pacific Air.

Like all growth-oriented air carriers, Cebu Pacific constantly seeks new competitive advantages and efficiencies. One area of its operations ripe for optimization was payments – specifically, its multi-acquirer strategy integral to international revival – so the Philippines' largest low-cost carrier partnered with CellPoint Digital and its Payment Orchestration platform.

Working with CellPoint Digital, Cebu Pacific has reduced its transaction costs, increased its payment acceptance rates and implemented its multi-acquirer strategy more efficiently. CellPoint Digital has also helped the airline decrease the cost of its fraud prevention processes. Embracing CellPoint Digital’s Payment Orchestration approach is one of the key initiatives of Cebu Pacific to position itself for significant and sustainable expansion over the next several years.

The Players

A High-Performing LCC and the pioneer in payments

Based in Metro Manila, Cebu Pacific Air connects to 60 domestic and international destinations in 14 countries and is the Philippines’ largest carrier by passenger numbers, approximately 20 million in a year.

Although most of Cebu Pacific’s passenger volume is domestic, its fleet expansion efforts (including a recently completed lease agreement with Bulgaria Air) and its exploration of what may be the largest jet purchase by any Philippine carrier indicate its commitment to the Philippine aviation industry.

However, a few of the challenges relating to international expansion relate to payments, including processing payment types that vary by market, accepting cross-border payments, and optimising transaction routing to minimise costs on a broader stage. This is where CellPoint Digital’s solutions would make the biggest contribution.

CellPoint Digital is the pioneer of Payment Orchestration, which helps airlines like Cebu Pacific create more connected payment processes that yield savings and efficiencies.

CellPoint Digital’s Payment Orchestration Platform allows airlines to dynamically route transactions to preferred acquirers and streamline cross-border payments, all of which help to mitigate costs and diversify risk.

The platform also offers the ability to roll out more payment options to passengers and travelers, creating a more positive booking experience, minimising abandoned transactions and growing revenue.

The Challenge

Optimising payment processes to align with expansion

Cebu Pacific has enjoyed significant success in its home market and is recognised as one of the best-performing carriers in Southeast Asia. But to maintain its domestic dominance and continue expanding its international network, the airline must evolve its handling of payments.

Cebu Pacific has implemented a multi-acquirer strategy to support its growth and serve different payment needs and options across multiple geographies. The goal is to benefit from improved payment reliability, redundancy, cost optimisation, and enhanced geographic coverage.

However, to add a new acquirer, the payment and integration settings had to be hard-coded into the airline’s systems – a process that is resource-intensive and that required manual intervention to change how and where transactions were routed. Cebu Pacific needed to find a partner that could migrate its existing acquirers, seamlessly take on new ones, and support Cebu’s preferred routing rules.

Cebu Pacific also needs a more advanced and scalable fraud management system as it expands into new markets. The airline lacked 3D secure transaction filtering, instead relying on a dedicated 24/7 team to manually screen all incoming transactions in real-time, which was inefficient and expensive and ultimately put the airline at increased risk of payment fraud.

The Solution

Payment Orchestration by CellPoint Digital

To solve these challenges, Cebu Pacific partnered with CellPoint Digital. An approach introduced to the airline industry by CellPoint Digital, Payment Orchestration describes the end-to-end management of all components of a payment, from authorisation to routing to settlement to reporting.

In practice, for airlines like Cebu Pacific, it creates a more transparent and flexible payment ecosystem that can easily accommodate multiple PSPs and acquirers, route transactions intelligently to boost acceptance, integrate multiple payment methods, and facilitate more conversions in direct and indirect sales channels.

Most importantly, Payment Orchestration helps airlines reduce the cost of payments across global operations – a crucial capability for Cebu Pacific.

With CellPoint Digital’s Payment Orchestration Platform in place, Cebu Pacific was able to slash its processing costs, increase acceptance rates and maintain complete real-time control over its payments through a rules-based command center.

Also, through Payment Orchestration, Cebu Pacific could implement its multi-acquirer strategy more efficiently. A multi-acquirer strategy involves using multiple acquirers to process payments, which can provide several benefits, such as improved payment reliability, redundancy, cost reduction, and enhanced geographic coverage. This has led most global airlines to adopt a multi-acquirer strategy, but for Cebu Pacific, which used manual processes to add new acquirers, the cost had the potential to outweigh the benefit.

With CellPoint Digital as a partner, Cebu Pacific now has the flexibility to route transactions to their preferred acquirer without incurring downtime, allowing the airline to automatically determine the most viable and cost-effective pathway for every transaction.

But, the partnership with CellPoint Digital offered another payment-related benefit:
additional fraud prevention and management capabilities. With fraud mitigation built into the Payment Orchestration solution, Cebu Pacific can now filter 3DS transactions as they happen and automatically submit suspicious transactions for additional fraud screening.

With this automated fraud monitoring in place, the transactions requiring manual screening were now limited to non-3DS transactions, which drastically decreased the number of transactions requiring manual intervention and, in turn, significantly reduced fraud screening costs and eliminated the need for a dedicated team to examine each transaction in real-time.

The Results

Streamlined, scalable payment solutions

The partnership between Cebu Pacific and CellPoint Digital has changed how the airline manages its growing payments ecosystem, especially as it expands into new international markets.

Its rules-based engine enables Cebu Pacific to process payments more efficiently in international markets, route transactions more effectively, and reduce the operational costs associated with its payment processes.

More specifically, Cebu Pacific was able to do away with the need for hard-coding new acquirers and changes to existing acquirers, making it more agile and reducing the airline’s workload. This has the secondary effect of freeing up vital human resources for other operations without compromising the quality and effectiveness of its operations.

Alongside operational savings in human resources and finances, Cebu Pacific has been able to reduce its overall fraud rates, overhaul its fraud management processes and create a more secure payment experience for its passengers. This will yield higher acceptance and conversion rates for the airline over the long term.

With a partner like CellPoint Digital, Cebu Pacific can access the expertise and advice required to continually evolve its payment ecosystem alongside changing customer expectations globally.


As a growth-minded airline in the expanding and competitive Southeast Asian aviation market, Cebu Pacific understood the challenges of a complex international web of payment providers and acquirers. It knew it had to find a more efficient way to implement its multi-acquirer strategy, refine its fraud management practices, and optimise its overall payment system.

By deploying CellPoint Digital’s Payment Orchestration Platform, the airline has enhanced its routing capabilities, generated substantial cost savings, and reduced the resources needed to manage its growing payment ecosystem.

With this ongoing partnership, CellPoint Digital will enable Cebu Pacific to view its payment processes as a potential profit driver rather than a cost center. By implementing the efficiencies and optimizations of Payment Orchestration, Cebu Pacific reaps significant benefits, one transaction at a time.