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CebuPac eyes more long-haul flights

MANILA, Philippines - Budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) is set to mount its first flight to the US within the year after getting the green light from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Cebu Pacific general manager for long-haul division Alex Reyes said the low cost carrier has received a certification for Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO) of up to 120 minutes from CAAP.

“Cebu Pacific’s EDTO 120 certification allows us to serve new long-haul markets with a more direct route between airports. This means considerable fuel savings, and the most optimal flight times for our passengers,” Reyes said.

EDTO refers to a set of rules introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for airlines operating twin-engine aircraft on routes beyond 60 minutes flying time from the nearest airport. The time refers to flight times between diversion airfields.

With the certification, the airline could now mount direct Manila-Hawaii flights.

 “We need it to fly direct to Hawaii,” Reyes said.

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Cebu Pacific launched long-haul flights to Dubai, Dammam, Kuwait, and Sydney last year and is scheduled to fly to Doha in Qatar on June 4.

To secure the certification, Cebu Pacific submitted to a comprehensive review of systems by the CAAP.

The regulator checked the budget airline’s compliance with additional special engineering and flight crew procedures in addition to the normal engineering and flight procedures.

Likewise, the pilots and engineering staff of Cebu Pacific are now qualified and trained for EDTO.

“With the certification, we can continue to offer the fastest, most affordable flights for all our customers,” he added.

Cebu Pacific is looking at mounting flights to the US particularly Guam and Hawaii after the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) upgraded the country’s aviation safety rating back to Category 1 from Category 2 in April last year.

It operates one of the world’s youngest fleet of 55 aircraft with an average age of 4.43 years. These include 10 Airbus A319, 31 Airbus A320, six Airbus A330 and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft.

Under its $4 billion fleet renewal program, Cebu Pacific is scheduled to take delivery of seven more brand-new Airbus A320 and 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft between this year and 2021.

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