The Philippines’ leading low-cost carrier, Cebu Pacific Air (PSE:CEB) advocates for Open Skies between the Philippines and Japan in the upcoming RP-Japan Air Consultation Talks, to be held on September 11-13, 2013 in Tokyo.
In its position paper submitted to the Philippine Air Consultation Panel last August 15, 2013, CEB recognized the government’s efforts in increasing capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), such as minimizing general aviation traffic. It emphasized though that should NAIA capacity become rapidly available, Philippine carriers will not be able to mount flights because of the lack of seat entitlements.
Seat entitlements have to be given first by countries such as Japan, so airlines like CEB can increase flights to or add destinations internationally. An Open Skies agreement will speed up this process and allow CEB to immediately expand its Japan operations. CEB currently operates from Manila to Osaka thrice weekly.
Japan, once one of the most protective aviation sectors in the world, has signed Open Skies agreements with countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, France, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Mexico.
“Cebu Pacific plans to aggressively expand into Japan in the future. We fully support the CAB in its efforts to further boost tourism and the Philippine aviation industry. An Open Skies agreement with Japan will benefit local tourism and trade, especially since we believe Japan can rival South Korea when it comes to foreign tourist arrivals,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.
CEB noted the compounded decrease of -2% in DOT’s Japan foreign arrival statistics from 2006-2011, and attributed it to the lack of additional seat entitlements. Meanwhile, tourist arrivals from ASEAN countries grew by double digits.
“Aside from Japan being one of the Philippines’ biggest trading partners, it is also home to 350,000 global Filipinos. Cebu Pacific’s expansion in Japan will allow us to offer our trademark lowest fares to the Philippines to boost business and leisure traffic,” Iyog added.
Between 2013 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 15 more Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 5 Airbus A330 aircraft. CEB currently operates 10 Airbus A319, 27 Airbus A320, 1 Airbus A330 and 8 ATR-72 500 aircraft. Its fleet of 46 aircraft is one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world.
Since its inception in 1996, CEB has flown over 80 million passengers. It continues to stimulate short-haul travel of passengers around Asia, with an 11% system-wide passenger growth in 2012.
CEB currently offers 22 international destinations, namely Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Incheon (Seoul), Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Phuket, Shanghai, Siem Reap, Singapore, Taipei and Xiamen. It also operates the most extensive network in the Philippines with 34 domestic destinations and hubs in Manila, Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo and Davao.
Cebu Air Inc. (PSE: CEB)
Cebu Air Inc. is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline.