Cebu Pacific has confirmed it will launch low-cost, long-haul flights in Asia during the third quarter of 2013.
The airline will lease up to eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft to serve new markets beyond the range of its current fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
The Airbus A330 has a range of up to 11 hours which means Cebu could serve markets such as Australia, Middle East, parts of Europe and the US.
“The A330-300 will give us the lowest cost per seat, allowing us to drive long-haul fares 35 per cent lower than those currently offered by other airlines, and as much as 80 per cent lower when we offers promo fares,” said Lance Gokongwei, president of Cebu Pacific.
“This aircraft type is very well suited to the kind of network we want to build and the routes we want to launch.”
Gokongwei cited Saudi Arabia as an example, where only 165,000 passengers flew direct non-stop flights from Manila (Civil Aeronautics Board 2010 data), compared to 293,000 Filipinos deployed to Saudi Arabia in the same year.
This means that nearly half of Filipinos who flew to Saudi Arabia in 2010 had to take multiple flights to get to their destination.
Since its inception in 1996, the carrier has posted a good track record in stimulating short-haul travel of Filipinos working and residing overseas.
Passenger traffic to and from Hong Kong, where a lot of Filipinos reside and work, grew by 88 per cent since it started operating flights from Manila in 2001.