CEB To Leave ME

Keeps Dubai

  • Ends Kuwait June 14 
  • Ends Doha July 1
  • Ends Riyadh July 3
24 May 2017

By Lorenz S. Marasigan & Recto Mercene

FILIPINO low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific has decided to suspend more than half of its operations in the Middle East (ME) due to intense competition in the market, a ranking official said on Wednesday.

Paterno S. Mantaring, a vice president at Cebu Pacific, said his group has decided to discontinue its flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; and Kuwait.

“The entry of Cebu Pacific into these markets benefited passengers with lower fares and more choices. Of late, other carriers have aggressively added more flights, which has resulted in the substantial oversupply of seats and fares that are so low, making the routes unsustainable,” he said.

The airline will fly the last of its four-times-a-week service from Manila to Kuwait on June 13, and its Kuwait-Manila flight on June 14, 2017. The thrice-weekly Manila-Doha-Manila route will have its last flight on July 1; while its last Manila-Riyadh-Manila will be on July 3.

“We have to continuously review our routes to ensure their viability. At this point, it makes more sense for us to redeploy the aircraft used for our Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait service to routes where we can further stimulate demand and sustain our low-fare offers,” Mantaring said.

Cebu Pacific, however, will retain its other long-haul services to and from Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Sydney, Australia, with a view to increasing frequencies to these destinations in the future, he said.

The airline also flies to 24 other international destinations across Asia and the US; as well as 37 domestic destinations.

Passengers affected by the suspension of service in Doha, Riyadh and Kuwait are being contacted.

Options are being provided to minimize disruption, which include rebooking passengers on flights with other airlines or on earlier travel dates with Cebu Pacific; a full refund; or placing the full value of the ticket in a travel fund for future use.

From January to March 2017, Cebu Pacific carried 4.8 million passengers, of which 1.3 million flew international destinations.

Total revenues for the first quarter of 2017 were up 4.7 percent to P16.9 billion. However, this was outpaced by the growth in expenses, driven by a weaker peso versus the US dollar and rising fuel prices. CEB net income for the first three months of 2017 was down 68 percent versus the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) continues its Manila to Dubai, Riyadh, Doha, Kuwait, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Dammam nonstop flights.

On March 26 the Lucio Tan-led flag carrier announced it will start nonstop service to and from Manila to all seven of its Middle East destinations.

PAL President and COO Jaime Bautista said, “The nonstop service will give us a better product to offer our kababayan [countrymen], our overseas Filipino workers. Aside from the convenience of such flights, passengers will get to experience in-flight service with the heart of the Filipino, marked by warmth, care and hospitality.”

In addition to the new nonstop schedules, PAL will be changing the aircraft used for Middle East routes from its current all-economy 414-seater Airbus A330 to a new bi-class A330. “The shift to bi-class service across all Middle East routes gives our passengers the flexibility to choose between regular economy, premium economy and business class service,” Bautista said.

The shift to the bi-class A330, which features full-flat beds in business class, will take place on June 15 for Dubai; July 15 for Abu Dhabi and Doha; August 15 for Riyadh; and September 15 for Kuwait and Jeddah.

PAL said the modern aircraft will also offer in-flight media streaming through the free myPal app, onboard Wi-fi (free for the first 30 minutes), iPad rentals and in-flight food options that include halal meals.

Each passenger will also be entitled to free baggage allowance of two pieces, weighing not more than 23 kilos each.


  1. I thought PAL was going to suspend Abu Dhabi?

    1. Me Neither. But i hope they not gonna terminate that route. I'm impress that PAL has IFEs on their refurbished A330s this coming month of June

    2. They are. Its just that we are not compelled to change the article written by authors as they appear in the newspaper.

  2. So what long-haul flights does CebPac have left? Dubai and Sydney? What's gonna happen to their A330s now? Seems like too many for just a few routes. I know those are also used for some regional and domestic routes (like Singapore, Davao, and Cebu), but that still feels like a waste of utilization.

    Does that mean CebPac entering the long haul-low cost market was a mistake after all?

  3. What will Happened to Cebu Pacific 8th A330 on order will they still take it after cutting 3 middle east routes Will they still take it ?

  4. Correction: Will they still take it?

  5. Maybe they will fly to Hawaii.

  6. I don't understand why Philippine carriers insist upon serving these Mid East hubs when they don't have onward connections capability like the Mideast carriers. There are so many other untapped destinations these carriers can serve to bring more investors and tourists to this country.