Aviation

Three more Aussie cities “within flying range” for Cebu Pacific, says commercial chief

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Cebu Pacific is continuing to explore expansion opportunities in Australia, with the Filipino low-cost carrier eyeing three cities in particular.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Cebu Pacific’s vice president of commercial, Alex Reyes, said Perth, Adelaide and Gold Coast are all “within flying range” for some of the airline’s newer aircrafts like the Airbus A321neo.

“Australia is a key market for Cebu Pacific, and we continue to explore expansion in the country, especially since we have a strong track record of growing passenger traffic between the Philippines and Australia,” he said.

“However, for now, we’re focusing on continuing to strengthen our Sydney and Melbourne routes. We will make announcements on new routes and destinations in due course.”

Given rival Philippine Airlines returned to Perth in March last year with non-stop flights to Manila, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cebu Pacific decided to also head west.

The direct Sydney-to-Manila route is Cebu Pacific’s first service offered to the Australian market. It launched in September 2014 and departs five times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

After experiencing high demand for its Sydney service, the airline launched its Melbourne-to-Manila direct route in August 2018, which departs three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Reyes said that while passenger loads are healthy, the budget airline is focused on increasing its percentage of Aussie travellers versus Filipinos and helping push the Philippines out from under the shadow of Bali.

“Naturally, awareness of Cebu Pacific is strong among Filipinos or those who have Filipino affinity, and may be travelling home to visit family,” he told Travel Weekly.

“However, for native Aussies, the Philippines is an upcoming destination and one that only just beginning to be considered and explored.

“Aussie travellers have typically favoured Bali as a great-value island destination. The Philippines is not too far from Australia and offers an alternative island escape.

“Through working with the Philippine Department of Tourism, we can generate more awareness for the destination and showcase just how easy it is for Australians to visit and island-hop.

“Then, as interest grows, it will create more demand for flights and additional services.”

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