5J to launch Long Haul, follows AirAsia footstep

Targets Middle East, East Asia and Australia as markets

January 31, 2012

Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei announced the budget carrier will launch long-haul flights in the third quarter of 2013, during a press conference in Ortigas on January 31, 2012. Photo courtesy of Fernando Sepe Jr. for ABS-CBNnews.com

Philippine low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific is set to launch long-haul services in the third quarter of 2013, says Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Air Inc. President during a press conference in Ortigas on Tuesday.

Gokongwei said the airline is targeting flights to the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, where there are large Filipino communities that are currently underserved. 

The airline will lease up to eight Airbus A330-300s for low-cost services to Australia, the Middle East, East Asia and Hawaii.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said that Cebu Pacific has applied already for authority to mount flights to Saudi Arabia late next year,a s well as application for flights to Guam and the nearby Pacific island nation of Palau. Hearings for the Guam and Palau applications is scheduled this week.

Cebu Pacific follows Malaysia's AirAsia X and Singapore-based Qantas associate Jetstar Asia in offering long-haul, low-cost services from Southeast Asia. Both operate Airbus A330s. Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, will begin long-haul, low-cost operations out of Singapore in the middle of 2012 using Boeing 777-200s.

Gokongwei said the airline intends to fly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) direct instead of making multiple stops and connecting flights from the middle east en route to the Philippines. 

The airline intends to offer fares 35% lower than gulf-based airlines, giving Filipinos the chance to fly directly to destinations in these cities instead of taking multiple stops and connecting flights.

Cebu Pacific currently operates a fleet of ATRs, Airbus A319s and A320s on short-haul routes within the Philippines and most regional points.
The airline will lease up to eight Airbus A330-300s for low-cost services to Australia, the Middle East, East Asia and Hawaii

Gokongwei said that there will be a separate management team for the airline.

"Just like what AirAsia X has done for AirAsia, but it adds complexity. So if you want to do it, you need to make sure you have completely different teams. Don't confuse the management by having them do both," Gokongwei added.

Gokongwei is confident on the restoration of the country to CAT 1 status by the FAA, and the lifting of a ban on Philippine carriers in the European Union.

"We are very confident that the ban would be lifted," Gokongwei said on the airlines intention to fly US territories.
“The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is undergoing an extensive process of improvements, especially in technical training. The authority has received a lot of support from many airlines and ICAO experts in technical training. So I confidently believe that the ICAO safety concerns and the European Union (EU) blacklist against the Philippines should be lifted by year-end,” says Gokongwei.

Cebu Pacific announced last week that it was launching Manila flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia. It currently flies to 34 domestic destinations and 19 international destinations to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Osaka, Taipei, Brunei, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Incheon and Busan. 

Cebu Pacific, is a unit of JG Summit Holdings Inc.

SEAIR Allowed to Fly Cebu, Davao

January 27, 2011

Singapore - Tiger Airways local subsidiary SOUTH EAST Asian Airlines, Inc. (Seair) announces flights to Cebu and Davao from Manila by summer after the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) upheld the airline's right to fly in the Philippines.

Seair was supposed to fly major domestic routes back in July 2011, but other local carriers, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Air, Inc. (Cebu Pacific), and Air Philippines Corp. (Airphil Express), complained of cabotage violations alleging Tiger as a foreign entity. Philippine Law grants the right of transporting goods and passengers between two or more points within the Philippines only to local airlines.

The airline was able to convinced CAB that its merely leasing Aircraft from Tiger Airways, and that of their reservation system for marketing purposes. It was able to proved that it is still an independent airline in the Philippines. CAB Resolution No. 1 issued on May 18, 2011, ordered Seair to stop the sale of seats for its Manila-Davao and Manila-Cebu routes planned for July 2011. The CAB lifted the cease and desist order in October last year.

The problem now is the aircraft to be used for major domestic services as the carrier awaits delivery of its 3rd and 4th  airbus aircraft for domestic and international operations. Two of its Airbuses are operating internationally. 

Seair flies to Macau, Hongkong, Bangkok, and Singapore from the carrier’s hub in Clark International Airport.

“ We’re looking to fly these route by April or May,” says Avelino L. Zapanta, SEAIR President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We’re just waiting for developments from the sources of the two aircraft that will be acquired for the Cebu and Davao operations,” Mr. Zapanta said.

The two new aircraft will also be used to fly Kuching, Penang, Langkawi, and Kota Kinabalu all in Malaysia, and some points in China, Mr. Zapanta said. The airline also plans to fly South Korea and Japan in the future.