Friday, April 17, 2009

Cebu Pacific plans flights to Brunei

MANILA - Cebu Pacific has filed a petition before the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to mount flights to Australia and Brunei following the conclusion of air service agreements with the two countries, BusinessWorld reported.

"We're very interested to operate flights to Brunei and Australia. We've been asking for entitlements so that we can offer low fares for these markets," Candice A Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice-president for marketing, said.

Budget-airline Cebu Pacific sought 540 seat entitlements for a thrice-weekly Manila to Sydney flight, 300 seat entitlements for a twice-weekly Manila to Melbourne flight, and 360 seat entitlements for a twice-weekly Manila to Brisbane flight.

Cebu Pacific has also applied for a petition for "designation as official Philippine carrier to Brunei" since there would be daily flights to Brunei's Bandar Seri Begawan airport.

Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines, Inc (PAL), meanwhile, said that it has no plans now to increase flights to Australia.

"We are on status quo for our flights to Australia," Jonathan P Gesmundo of PAL's Corporate Communications office said.

Last October, Lucio C Tan-led PAL hiked its flights to Melbourne and Sydney to daily from five times a week.

Gesmundo said PAL has yet to consider whether to mount flights to Brunei.

Businessman Alfredo M Yao said his budget airline Zest Airways, Inc would also apply for entitlements to Australia.

"Yes, we have plans to mount flights to Australia as we are really aiming to carve niche markets in our flights. We also see some demand from there," Yao said.

As for mounting flights to Brunei, Yao said the company board is still studying it.

The country's air panel finished air service negotiations with their counterparts from Australia last March. The two-day talks increased seat entitlements to 6,000 seats from 2,500, for flights between Manila and Clark to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Flights between other regional airports in Australia and airports in the Philippines have no capacity or frequency restrictions.

The country also sealed new air service agreements with Brunei last April, with flight entitlements for both countries increased to two carriers from the previous one, and to seven flights a week from five.

Local carriers so far have no flights to Brunei. PAL, though, has code-sharing agreement with Royal Brunei Airlines, which flies five times a week between Manila and Brunei.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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