MANILA, Phiippines – The country’s largest budget airline, Cebu Pacific Air, is seeking regulatory approval to be the official Philippine carrier for flights between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.
In a petition filed before the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) on February 15, the Gokongwei-led budget carrier said it is seeking the permission of the aviation regulator to be the Philippine carrier that will fly passengers between ASEAN countries and China.
This was after President Benigno Aquino III agreed to uphold the so-called 5th and 6th freedoms of the air, allowing broader flight options and improving air connections within the ASEAN.
Under Protocols 5 and 6, Philippine air carriers will be allowed to fly unlimited frequencies to and beyond the capital cities of other ASEAN nations, leading to better connectivity and more competitive fares and services.
Cebu Pacific also welcomed 2016 with around 13% growth in passenger traffic in January, driven by its increasing international network and strong domestic sales.
Its operator Cebu Air, Incorporated reported in a statement on Tuesday, February 23, that it carried more than 1.6 million passengers on domestic and international flights in January 2016 – up by nearly 13% from the same month in 2015.
The Gokongwei-led carrier said it achieved a record 86% seat load factor for the first month of 2016.
On January 3, the airline carried the highest number of passengers it has ever carried on a single day thus far: 62,947 passengers.
Based on internal estimates, the budget carrier said it held 58% of the total domestic market share for January this year.
“We will continue to expand our network and flight frequency to meet the growing demand for air travel,” Paterno Mantaring Jr, Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs, said in a statement.
The airline’s record passenger loads continue into the first half of February, with over 1.1 million guests flown from February 1 to February 21.
This is a 19% growth versus the same period last year.
The local budget carrier offers flights to a network of over 90 routes on 64 destinations, spanning Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.
It is slated to launch direct flights between Manila and Guam, its first US destination, on March 15.
Cebu Pacific’s 57-strong fleet is comprised of 8 Airbus A319, 35 Airbus A320, 6 Airbus A330, and 8 ATR 72-500 aircraft. Between 2016 and 2021, it expects delivery of 3 more new Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft. – Rappler.com