CEB flies direct to mainland China
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Budget carrier Cebu Pacific yesterday marked its maiden direct route from Cebu to mainland China via Shanghai, with the new connectivity seen to boost tourism and business opportunities between the two cities.

Shanghai, China is the Gokongwei-led airline’s sixth international route from Cebu.

“The improved air connectivity is expected to boost inbound and outbound travelers for both route’s dynamic leisure and business opportunities,” the company said in a statement yesterday.

The six-times-a-week Cebu-Shanghai flight departs from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport at 6:50 p.m. The flight’s evening departure allows neighboring cities such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete and Iloilo to connect seamlessly and fly to the biggest city in China via the Mactan Airport.

Meanwhile, the return flight from Shanghai departs at 11:55 p.m.

The country’s second busiest airhub has sought to connect various international destinations following the opening of its second terminal last year.

Since then, various direct routes from mainland China have opened to Cebu, with the world’s second biggest economy becoming the Philippine city’s fastest growing tourism market.

Being a global financial hub, Shanghai is the biggest city in China.

Shanghai’s unique oriental charm is perfect for Filipinos who want to experience a mix of Eastern and Western cultures. Often dubbed as the Oriental Paris, Shanghai boasts of beautiful modern skyscrapers and landmarks rich in culture and history.

The budget carrier’s new Shanghai route is in line with its plan to expand capacity in Cebu to meet increasing demand.

The carrier had earlier stated it would ramp up capacity in its Cebu hub by as much as 20% in 2019.

Aside from Shanghai, Cebu Pacific flies direct from Cebu to Hong Kong; Macau; Narita, Japan; Incheon, Korea and Singapore.

The carrier also has direct flights from Cebu to 22 other domestic destinations.

Capacity between MCIA and China more than doubled in 2018 following a string of new route additions and service increases.

Figures provided by OAG Schedules Analyser show that China is now the third largest international destination from Cebu following an increase of almost 150,000 available two-way seats in 2018, compared with the previous 12 months.

Cebu was connected to 13 points in mainland China in 2018, with Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Changsha new destinations added.

However, South Korea remains MCIA’s largest international market, with total capacity growing 12.3 percent in 2018 to 974,931 available seats. Japan remains second despite a 0.3 percent drop.

China emerges as a strong driver of international traffic for Mactan-Cebu International Airport, as more Chinese cities are seen to be directly connected by air to Cebu this year. (FREEMAN)

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