Cebu Pacific to stop flights to Kuwait, Doha, and Riyadh
MANILA, Philippines— Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific Airlines has announced that it will stop its flights to Kuwait, Doha in Qatar, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia because of increased competition in these routes.
In a statement on Wednesday, May 24, announcing the move, Cebu Pacific gave the following schedule for suspending operations.
- The airline will fly the last of its 4x week service from Manila to Kuwait on June 13, 2017, and its Kuwait-Manila flight on June 14, 2017
- The 3x weekly Manila-Doha-Manila route will have its last flight on July 1, 2017
- The last flight from Manila to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will depart on July 2, 2017, while the Riyadh-Manila flight will leave on July 3, 2017
Cebu Pacific said that it is contacting passengers affected by the suspension of service in Doha, Riyadh, and Kuwait. Options will be provided to them to minimize the disruption.
These options 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.
The budget carrier said increased competition along the 3 routes was the main reason behind the move.
“The entry of Cebu Pacific into these markets benefitted passengers with lower fares and more choices. Of late, other carriers have aggressively added more flights, which has resulted in substantial oversupply of seats and fares that are so low, hence making the routes unsustainable,” said JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs.
“We have to continuously review our routes to ensure their viability. At this point, it makes more sense for us to re-deploy the aircraft used for our Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait service to routes where we can further stimulate demand and sustain our low fare offers," he added.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines, for example, recently announced that it will offer non-stop service flights to the 3 cities and to other Middle Eastern destinations.
Cebu Pacific said it will retain its other long-haul services to and from Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Sydney, Australia, with a view to increase frequencies to these destinations in the future.
For the first 3 months of 2017, the budget airline carried 4.8 million passengers, 1.3 million to international destinations.
Its first quarter net income hit P1.28 billion, down 68% compared to the same period in 2016 despite revenues up by 4.7% to P16.9 Billion.
The airline attributed the drop to increased expenses due to a weaker peso against the US dollar and rising fuel costs.—Rappler.com