27 February 2018
Philippine low cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) will finally fly Melbourne beginning August 14, 2018 thrice a week from Manila. It will be its second destination in Australia after Sydney.
Cebu Pacific Vice-President for Corporate Affairs JR Mantaring said that plans to launch the flights earlier scheduled on “June” this year was rescheduled to August due to delay in regulatory approvals for the route.
The launch for Melbourne flight was postponed three times due to aircraft rationalization and poor economic conditions of the airline.
Rationalization resulted in the axing of most of its Middle East Flights with Dubai the only destination remaining. From June to July last year, it suspended operations to Kuwait, Doha and Riyadh. Dammam was earlier terminated in 2015.
Cebu Pacific’s revenue performance in Sydney, which was launched in 2014, is getting better says Mantaring, and the airline hopes Melbourne can stimulate further demand in the Philippines-Australia market.
The airline initially added Melbourne to its network plan in 2015 after the Philippines and Australia expanded its air services agreement. Another plan was drawn in 2016 but Cebu Pacific decided to shelve plans to launch Melbourne after incurring heavy losses from its long haul operations. It has since rationalized the routes and redeployed A330 fleet to expand its domestic and regional international market.
Sydney and Dubai, which is served daily most of the year, are the only remaining long haul routes in Cebu Pacific’s network which constantly use three aircraft on rotations.
The arrival of seven A321ceos on March 2018 and the joining of thirty two new A321Neo aircraft beginning on the fourth quarter of 2018 until 2022 should free up the utilization of three other A330s which would be used for Australian and Hawaii expansion.
CEB operates a fleet of six A330-300s used for its international flights to Dubai, Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore aside from domestic route in Cebu and Davao.