Cebu Pacific to deploy more aircraft to ‘high-traffic’ destinations


By Imee Charlee C. Delavin | BusinessWorld Online

CEBU PACIFIC will redeploy the aircraft used for the recently discontinued Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait routes to “high-traffic” destinations such as Hong Kong and Davao.

“Initially, the plan is to redeploy the aircraft used for Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait for high-traffic destinations like Hong Kong and Davao,” the budget carrier said via e-mail when asked where it will use the aircraft from its previous Middle East flights.

The Gokongwei-led airline said late last month that it will suspend its long-haul service from Manila to the three Middle Eastern cities citing “oversupply” amid intense competition from Gulf carriers although it will continue to fly to other long-haul services to Dubai and United Arab Emirates, among others.

“We will redeploy the freed-up A330s into high-traffic domestic and short-haul international such as Hong Kong, Cebu and Davao, where we continue to see strong demand,” it added.

Cebu Pacific announced late last week that it will already be increasing the frequency and capacity of its flights to Cebu, Davao, and Hong Kong and upgrade the aircraft from an Airbus A320 to an A330 following the two brand-new aircraft added into its fleet.

“Starting July 4, Cebu Pacific will be increasing frequency of its Manila-Hong Kong route by 50%, resulting in thrice-a-day flights, or a total of 21 flights a week, from the current twice-a-day. Cebu Pacific will also use the A330s to fly between Manila and Cebu three-times daily, or 21 times a week; while the Davao hub will get a boost with two additional daily flights to and from Manila, bringing frequency to four times daily, or 28 weekly flights,” the Gokongwei airline said.

It will also upgrade to a 436-seater A330 its former 180-seater A320 or 59% more capacity.

“More seats and more flights in high-demand destinations will help lower fares. Moreover, using larger aircraft will make flying more efficient, freeing-up some aircraft and slots at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. This will also enable us to increase capacity and frequency for other routes moving forward,” Cebu Pacific Corporate Affairs Officer-in-Charge Paterno S. Mantaring, Jr. was quoted as saying.

Cebu Pacific noted that its brand-new ATR 72-600 aircraft will form part of the existing ATR fleet of wholly owned subsidiary Cebgo, which recently announced five new domestic routes set to start operations in July, namely: Cebu to Masbate, Cagayan de Oro to Zamboanga, Davao to Dumaguete and Tacloban, and Zamboanga to Cotabato.

Cebu Pacific and its subsidiary Cebgo has earlier set a P24-billion capital expenditures for 2017 to add nine aircraft to its existing fleet to be delivered this year.

The Cebu Pacific group currently operates a fleet of 61 aircraft. The budget carrier is looking to expand its fleet to meet increasing demand for air travel and to mount new routes. Between 2017 and 2021, Cebu Pacific expects delivery of 32 Airbus A321neo, and 11 ATR 72-600 aircraft.

The airline carried 6.63 million passengers in the first four months of the year, higher by 0.4% than the 6.6 million seen during the comparable period last year, according to the latest operating statistics uploaded on its Web site.

The Gokongwei-led carrier is targeting to ferry 20 million passengers this year.

Cebu Air, Inc.’s net income plunged 68% to P1.28 billion in the first quarter, dragged by a 20% rise in operating expenses to P14.302 billion. Revenues went up 5% to P16.86 billion.

CEBU PACIFIC will redeploy the aircraft used for the recently discontinued Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait routes to “high-traffic” destinations such as Hong Kong and Davao.