Qatar Airways Bids Cebu Goodbye

Ends flight on March 26

March 2, 2012

Qatar Airways has call it quits for Cebu after more than eight long years of developing the network.

The airline decided to suspend flights to Cebu starting April this year due to economic reason. The inaugural Doha-Cebu flight of Qatar Airways started at Mactan Cebu International Airport on Dec. 11, 2003. The airline served the route three times weekly. It never grow from there.

"We cannot simply fill our planes and grow despite our existence here for more than five years" Cebu commercial manager Mohammed El Emam said yesterday.

In contrast, Manila got the better share of the airline but is prevented from expanding the route due to bilateral restrictions.

"The problem with Cebu I think is domestic connections to other places in Visayas and Mindanao region." says Emam.

"In Manila, you could virtually connect to any places in the Philippines and airlines offered bigger planes such as Airbus 320 to ferry passengers." Emam adds. "In Cebu, you get a commuter plane to the provinces."

But Cebu-based travel agencies has other reasons in mind.

"The Cebu-Qatar route is much more expensive as compared to Manila-Qatar, and sometimes the difference is huge when you consider flying other airlines to the middle east" says a local operator Jenny Franco.

"Perhaps because they operate on monopoly", the operator adds.

However Emam stressed that even if they are alone in Cebu, there is no monopoly for them as plenty of airlines are available in Manila which is an hour away. He stressed that Cebu pricing is actually market based, and since it has fewer passenger to fly they have to pay more.

"It's more or less an economy of scale, if you like" says Emam. 

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) recently asked Qatar Airways to reconsider its decision of withdrawing from Cebu.

“We understand the factors that triggered Qatar Airways to suspend its flights to our island, but we are in dire need of the services of your airways” Chioson said in his letter to the airline.

Hotel and restaurant owners have a different reason.
“I believe it’s a combination of factors that pushed Qatar Airways to that decision: the low cargo revenues, the low yield from business-class,” said Hotel, Resorts, and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Hans Hauri.
In an advisory sent to its partners and clients, Qatar Airways said it will stop servicing the Cebu-Doha route because of rising fuel cost and high operating expenses. 

The airline said passengers with flights after March 26 will be provided with alternative flights like the Manila-Doha route that flies twice-weekly.


  1. Lower Business Class demand compared to Manila combined with the common carrier tax didn´t help either!

  2. Most Filipino authorities are extremely corrupt and if there is not a remarkable personal benefit from something they will not do it. The same goes for Mactan Airport.

  3. Hi,Foreign investors may not invest in commercial agencies with Incorporation in Qatar or, broadly speaking, real estate.Approval from the Council of Ministers is required for foreign investment in banking or insurance.Thanks.....