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Cebu Pacific to fly to Doha, Qatar next yr

MANILA, Philippines - Listed low cost carrier Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific), the airline arm of taipan John L. Gokongwei Jr., is set to fly to Doha, Qatar in February next year as part of the airline’s efforts to service Filipinos living and working overseas.

Cebu Pacific is seeking the green light from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to fly between Manila and Qatar using Airbus A330 three times a week starting February next year.

The budget airline is seeking the reallocation of entitlements to Doha to be able to fly to Doha every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

The bulk of the country’s 10 million Filipinos working and living abroad are working in the Middle East and are concentrated in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, among others.

Cebu Pacific is scheduled to launch its long haul operations with its first Manila to Dubai flight on Oct. 7 using A330-300 aircraft with a configuration of more than 400 all-economy class seats.

The budget airline intends to lease up to eight A330-300 aircraft for its long-haul operations. It is scheduled to take delivery of two A330-300 aircraft this year and two more next year.

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The A330-300 has a range of up to 11 hours that would allow Cebu Pacific to serve markets such as Australia, Middle East, parts of Europe, and the US.

Cebu Pacific has turned into firm orders its existing options for seven Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery between 2015 and 2016 and also placed a new firm order for 30 Airbus A321neo (New Engine Option) aircraft with options for a further 10 Airbus A321 neos to be delivered between 2017 and 2021.

The Gokongwei-owned airline has a fleet of 43 aircraft consisting of 10 Airbus A319, 25 Airbus A320, and eight ATR-72 500 aircraft.

Cebu Pacific plans to expand its fleet over the course of the next three years to 55 aircraft by the end of 2015 to increase frequency on current routes and to add new city pairs and destinations.

The airline has an extensive route network with 34 domestic and 22 international destinations on over 90 routes from six hubs including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3; Mactan-Cebu International Airport; Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark; Davao International Airport; Iloilo International Airport; and Kalibo International Airport in Aklan.

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