Monday, August 23, 2010

Cebu Pacific arrival in Brunei signals 'low cost as future of travelling'

By Narissa Noor

The Philippines' largest national carrier, Cebu Pacific (CEB), made its maiden Brunei-Manila flight yesterday, as it departed from the Brunei International Airport at 2.35am and arrived in Manila at 4.25am.

"We are experiencing almost 100 per cent passenger load factor for our maiden Manila-Brunei and Brunei-Manila flights.

"This shows that the market for Cebu Pacific flights to and from Brunei can really be stimulated by CEB's trademark low fares, and that it is responsive to the low-cost carrier model," said CEB's Vice President for Marketing and Distribution, Candice Iyog, who arrived on the inaugural flight to Brunei.

"CEB offers the lowest fare alternative from Brunei to the Philippines so we are very optimistic about our Brunei operations," she added.

"The big population of Filipinos in Brunei can go home more often, and their relatives in the Philippines can visit Brunei more often too."

She also expressed her hopes that locals from Brunei will venture into urban destinations in the Philippines for their leisure and business travel as well.

Bidding farewell to the departing passengers early yesterday morning were Director of the Brunei Tourism Board, Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, Philippine Embassy's Charge d'Affaires Minister, Celeste Balatbat, and the Department of Civil Aviation Director Omarali bin Haji Mohd Ja'afar.

"Cebu Pacific's operations in Brunei shall be a win-win situation for our two countries," said Balatbat.

Balatbat believes that the airline's entry into Brunei will facilitate travel, investment, tourism and trade flows between the two countries.

With over 17,000 tourists a year coming from the Philippines, Sheikh Jamaluddin expects the figure to double with the help of CEB.

"Every passenger wants to travel cheap no matter if you're the CEO of a company or a worker," Sheikh Jamaluddin told the Bulletin.

"I see low cost airlines as the future of travelling and it is especially effective if the flight is within a few hours away."

According to Sheikh Jamaluddin, with the arrival of CEB, the Brunei Tourism Board will supplement their efforts and increase roadshows and boost their marketing strategies in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, during the inaugural departure ceremony, Roslina Adak Paradji, the first person to check in for the flight was presented a Brunei-Philippines round-trip ticket. Later, the Validation of the Air Operation Certificate by the Department of Civil Aviation was presented to CEB's VP of Airport Services, Jomar Rodrigues.

Brunei is CEB's 15th international destination and operates Manila-Brunei flights every Tuesday and Saturday and Brunei-Manila flights every Wednesday and Sunday.

According to a press statement, the lowest year-round 'Go-Lite' fare for this route is B$86, while those with check-in luggage will just need to add B$3 upon booking.

CEB is Asia's third largest low-cost carrier and flies to 33 destinations in the Philippines and 15 international destinations. According to the statement, it is slated to begin flights to Beijing on September 5, 2010.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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