5J to launch Long Haul, follows AirAsia footstep

Targets Middle East, East Asia and Australia as markets

January 31, 2012

Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei announced the budget carrier will launch long-haul flights in the third quarter of 2013, during a press conference in Ortigas on January 31, 2012. Photo courtesy of Fernando Sepe Jr. for ABS-CBNnews.com

Philippine low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific is set to launch long-haul services in the third quarter of 2013, says Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Air Inc. President during a press conference in Ortigas on Tuesday.

Gokongwei said the airline is targeting flights to the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, where there are large Filipino communities that are currently underserved. 

The airline will lease up to eight Airbus A330-300s for low-cost services to Australia, the Middle East, East Asia and Hawaii.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said that Cebu Pacific has applied already for authority to mount flights to Saudi Arabia late next year,a s well as application for flights to Guam and the nearby Pacific island nation of Palau. Hearings for the Guam and Palau applications is scheduled this week.

Cebu Pacific follows Malaysia's AirAsia X and Singapore-based Qantas associate Jetstar Asia in offering long-haul, low-cost services from Southeast Asia. Both operate Airbus A330s. Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, will begin long-haul, low-cost operations out of Singapore in the middle of 2012 using Boeing 777-200s.

Gokongwei said the airline intends to fly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) direct instead of making multiple stops and connecting flights from the middle east en route to the Philippines. 

The airline intends to offer fares 35% lower than gulf-based airlines, giving Filipinos the chance to fly directly to destinations in these cities instead of taking multiple stops and connecting flights.

Cebu Pacific currently operates a fleet of ATRs, Airbus A319s and A320s on short-haul routes within the Philippines and most regional points.
The airline will lease up to eight Airbus A330-300s for low-cost services to Australia, the Middle East, East Asia and Hawaii

Gokongwei said that there will be a separate management team for the airline.

"Just like what AirAsia X has done for AirAsia, but it adds complexity. So if you want to do it, you need to make sure you have completely different teams. Don't confuse the management by having them do both," Gokongwei added.

Gokongwei is confident on the restoration of the country to CAT 1 status by the FAA, and the lifting of a ban on Philippine carriers in the European Union.

"We are very confident that the ban would be lifted," Gokongwei said on the airlines intention to fly US territories.
“The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is undergoing an extensive process of improvements, especially in technical training. The authority has received a lot of support from many airlines and ICAO experts in technical training. So I confidently believe that the ICAO safety concerns and the European Union (EU) blacklist against the Philippines should be lifted by year-end,” says Gokongwei.

Cebu Pacific announced last week that it was launching Manila flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia. It currently flies to 34 domestic destinations and 19 international destinations to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Osaka, Taipei, Brunei, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Incheon and Busan. 

Cebu Pacific, is a unit of JG Summit Holdings Inc.


  1. Once the restoration of the country to CAT 1 status by the FAA Will Be Done By Mid-2012,They will Be Going To The US In No Time At All.

  2. Cebu Pacific announced in Singapore that the leased Airbus A330-300 aircraft will be powered with engines from Rolls-Royce PLC.

    Rolls-Royce will also provide long-term service support for the Trent 700 engines in a contract valued at US$280 million.

  3. Cebu Pacific has signed operating lease agreements with CIT Aerospace, for four new Airbus A330-300 aircraft scheduled for delivery next year.

    CIT provide aircraft leasing and aircraft financing packages, including operating leases and structuring and advisory services for commercial aircraft worldwide. It is a unit of America’s CIT Group Inc. (CIT)

    Most of the A320 fleet operated by Cebu Pacific is let from CIT, including its first set of airbuses.

  4. Cebu Pacific has formally inked a contract worth up to $280 million with Rolls-Royce to provide long-term TotalCare service support for its Trent 700 engines on up to eight Airbus A330 aircraft. President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, witnessed the contract signing during an official visit to the UK.

    Cebu Pacific's President and Chief Executive, said, "CEB's fleet expansion will enable us to launch long-haul operations and serve markets outside Asia Pacific, including those in Europe, the Middle East, Oceania and the United States. The level of support offered by Rolls-Royce through the TotalCare package will further enhance our operations."

    The Trent 700, the only engine specifically designed for the A330, is the market leader for the aircraft, with more than 1,400 in service or on order, the company added. Over 90 percent of Trent engine operators have chosen TotalCare support.

    Cebu Pacific initially announced the plan to select TotalCare in February 2012. The company would use the leased A330s to begin long-haul operations in the second half of 2013 and these aircraft would represent the first Trent engines in the carrier's fleet. CEB now operates 10 Airbus A319, 20 Airbus A320 and 8 ATR-72 500 aircraft. Between 2012 and 2021, Cebu Pacific would take delivery of 22 more Airbus A320 and 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft orders.

  5. Cebu Pacific is to provide OnAir internet service to passengers on its Airbus A330 fleet starting in 2013.

    The airline also has the option to install Wi-Fi on its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, for short haul flights, in the next phase.

    Once Internet OnAir is in service, Cebu Pacific passengers will be able to access the internet during flights and make calls using Voice Over IP applications, using their Wi-Fi enabled personal electronic devices, such as Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and laptops.