Fueling The Flight of Every Juan

Behind every takeoff and landing of a Cebu Pacific aircraft is an enduring partnership that has enabled the pioneering Philippine low-cost carrier to deliver on its well-known promise to “fly every Juan” when it first started in 1996.

Phoenix Petroleum, the country’s fastest-growing and homegrown independent oil company, has been providing the aviation fuel needs of Cebu Pacific for the past 15 years.

Phoenix president and chief executive officer Dennis A. Uy started the company in 2002 from his hometown of Davao City, listing it on the Philippine Stock Exchange by 2007—the first oil firm to do so following the Oil Deregulation Law of 1998—and growing it into the multi-billion-peso enterprise that it is today.

Uy’s success story is that of an ordinary Juan as well who made it big in the local business scene through dint of hard work, perseverance and integrity. In more ways than one, these are the same values and entrepreneurial spirit that enabled Cebu Pacific to disrupt the local aviation industry when it first started, according to chief executive officer Lance Y. Gokongwei.

“He was starting out then, but Cebu Pacific was also not a large company then. So we both took a chance on each other,” recalls Gokongwei of a fateful cold call that Uy made to Cebu Pacific’s procurement office to offer Phoenix’s services. It was still known as Davao Oil Terminal Services Corporation (DOTSCO) then, and Gokongwei would not even meet Uy until a couple of years later.

Cebu Pacific would become Uy’s first big corporate account. Gokongwei further recounts: “He [Uy] is still a young man now but he was even younger then. But he was full of energy and ideas, so we gave him a project to start off with, supplying us and handling our logistics out of Davao. And it did really well. We’ve continued to grow from there and our relationship has gotten stronger over the last 15 years.”

Gokongwei cites excellent customer service as a key advantage of Phoenix. “The relationship has grown because Phoenix has been able to deliver on its commitments to Cebu Pacific not only in terms of offering a very competitive price but more particularly in terms of investing ahead with us. They’ve invested substantial management and resources to serve Cebu Pacific’s growing needs, and in terms of service and execution, they’ve been very reliable,” he says.

“They store, they transport. They do in-plane for us—the whole gamut of services. And they’ve also been willing to grow with us in our new stations. They are the ones who are willing to put up the tankerage facilities to support our growth,” Gokongwei adds.

Such commitment and support for its valued customers has distinctly defined Phoenix’s brand of partnership and customer service. “I think both of us will continue to grow together and partner with each other. As Cebu Pacific continues to grow, I think Phoenix will have a role in that and vice versa,” concludes Gokongwei.

Just as Cebu Pacific takes to the skies and charters new territories to expand the way Filipinos fly, so will Phoenix be there to ensure that their dreams and aspirations to travel and explore the world will continue to be fueled with success.

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