CEB cleared to fly in EU

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Saturday, April 12, 2014


LOW-COST carrier (LCC) Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) expects a substantial boost in travel and tourism within Southeast Asia once the region’s full market integration takes place by 2015.

Atty. Jorenz Tañada, CEB’s vice-president for corporate affairs, is optimistic CEB will be able to compete credibly with its Southeast Asian peers, saying they have already implemented measures that would make the airline more competitive and advanced compared to other LCCs in the region.

“One of our strengths is our ability to watch over our operating expenses,” said Tañada. He said the LCC has also fine-tuned its training programs to allow them to access more training titles.

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Last Thursday, the European Commission announced that the Gokongwei-led airline company has been removed from the list of airlines banned from operating in European Union (EU) member-countries.

“The decision of the European Commission to lift the ban on Cebu Pacific shows the ability of Philippine authorities and business to work with the EU to raise standards and create economic opportunity,” said Julian Vassallo, chargé d’affaires at the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.

“Having demonstrated their commitment and capacity to adhere to international standards, we heartily welcome Cebu Pacific to European skies.”

Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific president and CEO, welcomed this development in a statement, saying this is a testament to Cebu Pacific’s commitment to safety and full compliance with international aviation safety standards.

He lauded the efforts and support of the Philippine Government, especially the Civil
Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

“This enables Cebu Pacific to continue flying to where the Filipinos are. With nearly a million Filipinos working in the EU, we look forward to offering CEB’s trademark lowest fares, and the most extensive route network in the Philippines,” Gokongwei said.

Tañada said the strategic alliance between Tigerair and CEB is also seen to boost its network footprint in the region.

The alliance will combine their fleets, which will now number 100 aircrafts—half from CEB and half from Tigerair—to cover 48 destinations in 18 countries, including high-growth markets such as China, India, Myanmar, Japan and Australia.

In a disclosure last month, CEB announced Tigerair Philippines flights can now be booked through the Cebu Pacific website and other CEB booking channels.

CEB currently operates over 2,200 flights per week with 50 aircraft to 24 international and 33 Philippine cities in its network. Tigerair Philippines operates 118 flights per week with five aircraft to 11 domestic and international destinations, from its bases in Manila and Clark.

Similarly, the launched of new flights to Tokyo and Nagoya in Japan last week was a strategic move to increase CEB’s network and to take advantage of the growing number of Japanese arrivals, Tañada added.

CEB became the first Philippine low-cost carrier to operate direct daily flights from Manila to Tokyo (Narita), and four times weekly flights from Manila to Nagoya. Between 2014 and 2021, Cebu Pacific will take delivery of 12 more Airbus A320, 30 Airbus A321neo, and 3 Airbus A330 aircraft.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 13, 2014.

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