Monday, April 20, 2009

Cebu Pacific expresses interest in launching service to Brunei & Australia

The Philippines Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has received a petition from budget-carrier Cebu Pacific to launch flights to Australia and Brunei following the conclusion of air service agreements with the two countries.

"We’re very interested to operate flights to Brunei and Australia. We’ve been asking for entitlements so that we can offer low fares for these markets," said Candice A. Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice-president for marketing.

Cebu Pacific has sought 540 seat entitlements for three weekly Manila to Sydney flights, 300 seat entitlements for a twice-weekly Manila to Melbourne flight, and 360 seat entitlements for a twice-weekly Manila to Brisbane flight.

Cebu Pacific has also applied for "designation as official Philippine carrier to Brunei".

Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL), meanwhile, said that it has no plans to increase flights to Australia at present and had not yet considered whether to mount fights to Brunei.

"We are on status quo for our flights to Australia," Jonathan P. Gesmundo of PAL’s Corporate Communications office said.

Last October, Lucio C. Tan-led PAL increased its Melbourne and Sydney flights from five times a week to daily flights.

Businessman Alfredo M. Yao said his budget airline Zest Airways, Inc. would also apply for entitlements to Australia.

"Yes, we have plans to mount flights to Australia as we are really aiming to carve niche markets in our flights. We also see some demand from there," Mr. Yao said.

Mr. Yao said that Zest was still weighing up their options as to whether they will mount flight to Brunei.

Last March, the country’s air panel finished air service negotiations with their Australian counterparts.

Over the course of two days it was decided that seat entitlements would be increased up to 6,000 seats from 2,500, for flights between Manila and Clark to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Flights between other regional airports in Australia and airports in the Philippines have no frequency or capacity restrictions.

The country also sealed new air service agreements with Brunei last April, with flight entitlements for both countries increased from one to two carriers, and from five to seven weekly flights.

At present local carriers have no flights to Brunei, however, PAL, has code-sharing agreement with Royal Brunei Airlines, which flies five times a week between Manila and Brunei.

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