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Cebu Pac hikes seat capacity to HK by 36%

MANILA, Philippines - Budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) is set to upgrade the aircraft used in its Manila – Hong Kong – Manila flights starting September, increasing the Mla-HK-Mla  route capacity by as much as 36 percent.

Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and distribution of Cebu Pacific, said the low cost carrier would use its second brand new Airbus A330, with a seating capacity of 436 scheduled to arrive in September, for its Manila – Hong Kong – Manila.

The brand new aircraft would replace the 180-seater A320 from Sept. 16 to Oct. 4 to accommodate more passengers.

“There is a great degree of interest in travel to Hong Kong, and we at Cebu Pacific want to continuously stimulate this demand with our trademark lowest fares, and more flights and routes. To date, we offer guests the most number of routes to Hong Kong, providing many travelers from all over the Philippines fast and convenient access to this popular international destination,” she stressed.

Cebu Pacific flies four times daily from Manila to Hong Kong, daily from both Clark and Cebu to Hong Kong, and twice weekly from Iloilo to Hong Kong.

To further promote travel to Hong Kong, she said the airline is holding a P999 seat sale from Manila until Aug. 7 or until seats last. The P999 seats are for travel from Sept. 15 to Nov. 30.

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The low cost carrier currently flies to 22 international destinations including Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Incheon (Seoul), Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Phuket, Shanghai, Siem Reap, Singapore, Taipei and Xiamen.

It also operates the most extensive network in the Philippines with 34 domestic destinations and hubs in Manila, Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo and Davao.

By 2015, the low cost carrier would operate six brand-new Airbus A330-300 with the acquisition of two more aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772B engines.

The Airbus A330-300 aircraft would allow Cebu Pacific to fly to farther destinations beyond the range of CEB’s Airbus A320 fleet.

Cebu Pacific has an existing fleet of 46 aircraft consisting of 27 Airbus A320s, 10 A319s, eight ATR 72-500, and an A330 aircraft.

The airline is unfazed by recent incidents involving two of its aircraft at the Davao International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is pursuing a massive re-fleeting program to beef up its fleet to reach 62 aircraft by 2017 from about 41 Airbus aircraft as of end-2012.

Cebu Pacific is scheduled to take delivery of 15 more Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft orders, and five Airbus A330 aircraft on operating lease agreements between 2013 and 2021.

Since its inception in 1996, Cebu Pacific has flown over 75 million passengers. In the first half of the year, it booked an eight percent growth in the number of passengers to 7.5 million from 6.9 million.

Officials attributed the growth in the volume of passengers in the first semester to increased presence in key markets, strategic seat sales offering the lowest possible fares, and continuous network expansion.

The airline expects to serve 15 million passengers this year but is unlikely to achieve its target after two of its aircraft were involved in accidents. One of its aircraft veered off the runway of the Davao International Airport last June 2 resulting to the closure of the international gateway for two days while another aircraft destroyed several edge lights at the NAIA runway last June 14.

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