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Cebu Pacific upgrades aircraft, boosts local flights

MANILA, Philippines - Cebu Pacific is increasing the capacity of its flights to key domestic points with strong passenger demand by upgrading to an Airbus aircraft from a turboprop.

In a statement, the budget carrier said flights from Manila to destinations such as Cauayan, Legazpi and Virac, and vice versa will be using the 180-seater Airbus A320 from the original 78-seater ATR 72-600 beginning July 4.

The move will translate to over 130 percent more capacity or about 102 additional seats.

The freed-up ATR aircraft from the three routes are going to be used for five new inter-island routes by Cebu Pacific subsidiary Cebgo such as Cebu-Masbate; Cagayan de Oro-Zamboanga; Davao-Dumaguete; Davao-Tacloban; and Cotabato-Zamboanga to be launched late next month.

“Utilizing larger aircraft will not only help meet demand for passenger air travel and logistics to move cargo across the country, but also allow more travellers to avail our year-round lowest fares,” Paterno Mantaring, Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs, said.

Aside from upgrading to Airbus from an ATR aircraft, Cebu Pacific will also be increasing the frequency of other domestic flights in the Visayas and Mindanao.

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In particular, Cebu Pacific will have an additional 10 flights between Manila and Iloilo from just 55 weekly.

For the Manila-Bacolod route, Cebu Pacific will have six more flights, bringing the total to 54 per week.

The additional flights to and from Iloilo and Bacolod will bring Cebu Pacific’s capacity to over 5,700 seats.

Cebu Pacific will also have eight additional weekly flights between Manila and Cagayan de Oro, bringing the total number of trips to 63 per week from the current 55 trips per week. The move will result in over 2,800 more seats for flights to and from Manila and Northern Mindanao.

“The capacity expansion will mean more flights and more travel options for everyJuan. We are optimistic that this will make air travel more affordable and more accessible to a greater number of travellers,” Mantaring said.

Last week, Cebu Pacific said it will shift to the 436-seater Airbus A330 for its Cebu, Davao and Hong Kong routes, also by July 4, a move which will lead to 59 percent more capacity for each flight.

At present, Cebu Pacific offers flights to a total of 37 domestic and 26 international destinations, operating over 100 routes spanning across Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US.

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