Cebu Pacific readies direct flights to Phuket
Cebu Air Inc., the listed operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, is launching in August flights to Phuket, Thailand, allowing passengers to directly travel to the vacation hotspot famous for its beaches and world-class resorts.
The budget airline of the Gokongwei group will begin flights on Aug. 16, it said.
In a separate statement, Cebu Pacific said the Manila-Phuket route would operate three times per week.
It also flies to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital.
Cebu Pacific has been ramping up its presence overseas as it seeks to sustain profits amid growing competition in the region.
Cebu Pacific directly competes with PAL Express, the budget unit of flag carrier Philippines Airlines Inc., and a growing number of domestic players, including Zest Air and the local unit of Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, the region’s largest low-cost airline.
Cebu Pacific started flights to Bali last March 16.
Similar to its marketing strategy to introduce that route, Cebu Pacific is advertising a P999 seat “sale” for a one-way trip to Phuket.
It said the year-round fares would start at P3,499.
With Phuket, Cebu Pacific will fly to 22 international destinations. The other destinations are Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Incheon, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Shanghai, Siem Reap, Singapore, Taipei and Xiamen.
The company’s profit increased 20.2 percent to P1.16 billion in the first quarter.
Gains were mainly attributed to higher fares, lower fuel costs and an increase in passenger traffic.
Its passenger volume rose 4.9 percent to 3.5 million passengers. Revenues during the first quarter jumped 12.9 percent to P10.54 billion.
It ended the first quarter with 43 aircraft, mainly comprised of medium-range Airbus A320s.
Cebu Pacific plans to take delivery of 19 more Airbus A320s and 30 A321neo planes through 2021.
In June, it will receive an initial order of Airbus A330-300s, which will allow it to mount flights to the Middle East during the third quarter.
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