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Cebu Pacific sees profit from long-haul business

MAIDEN FLIGHT TO GUAM: Cebu Pacific long-haul division general manager Alex Reyes pose with cabin crew during the inaugural flight of the airline’s Manila-Guam service on March 15. DODIE LEGASPI

GUAM – Low cost carrier Cebu Pacific expects its long-haul business to post profit this year as it looks to launch new flight services and expand capacity in the Middle East and the US.

Alex Reyes, general manager for the long-haul division of Cebu Pacific, told reporters during the launch of the carrier’s maiden flight to Guam, its first US destination, the long-haul operations are expected to be profitable this year to reverse the “small loss” incurred in 2015.

The profitability and growth of the long-haul business would be driven by new flight services and increased frequencies particularly in the Middle East.

Reyes said Cebu Pacific would be interested in serving new points in the Middle East.

He said the airline has been studying offering flight services to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia from Manila given traffic seen on that route.

The carrier is likewise looking to increase frequencies to long-haul destinations being served such as Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Doha in Qatar.

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Apart from new destinations and additional frequencies in the Middle East, Cebu Pacific intends to mount flights to a new US destination, Honolulu in Hawaii.

Reyes said the carrier is securing the necessary permits and approvals to launch flight services to Honolulu and announcements would be made once all the necessary requirements are completed.

Apart from Riyadh and Doha, Cebu Pacific has existing long-haul flights to Dubai in United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, as well as Sydney in Australia.

For the newly launched Manila-Guam service, Cebu Pacific is optimistic passenger traffic on the route would grow as seen in previous international destinations rolled out by the carrier.

“(Our) expectation is it (Manila-Guam service) is going to perform the same as all the other international destinations that we’ve launched. It’s not really taking existing market share away from the carriers who are servicing the route but we’ll end up doubling, tripling the traffic,” he said.

As Cebu Pacific expects to take delivery of over 40 brand-new aircraft in the next five years, the airline is taking a look at more travel opportunities.

Of the over 40 brand-new aircraft ordered, 30 are Airbus 321 neos suitable for flying five to six hours at the maximum to international destinations, while 16 are ATRs to be used for domestic flights.

At present, Cebu Pacific operates a total of 57 aircraft and serves over 90 routes.

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