Cebu Pacific Postpones Plans to Start US Flights

Photo: / Jan Kertzscher

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Cebu Pacific Air has postponed plans to start scheduled service to Honolulu preferring instead to focus on meeting existing demand within the domestic Filipino as well as regional ASEAN markets.

Cebu Pacific has had to cope with a surplus of A330-300 capacity following its decision to withdraw from Kuwait, Riyadh, and Doha Hamad Int’l earlier this summer. At the time, airline Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lance Gokongwei obliquely blamed the move on the Gulf carriers for capacity dumping in the Middle East-Philippines market.

The surplus widebody capacity has since been redeployed on Cebu Pacific flights to “high demand” destinations such as Davao and Cebu domestically as well as Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok, Korea, and Japan regionally.

“We’ve seen increasing demand more for international and short-haul traffic,” Gokongwei told the Business Inquirer in an interview last week. “[So] we would rather focus our resources on meeting existing demand for regional and domestic flights.”

Given weak demand for longhaul travel, Cebu Pacific has also deferred its overall plan to start flights to North America. As a consequence, it has also delayed plans to order the requisite A350 or B787 equipment needed to start such flights. Intercontinental growth is only expected to resume once market conditions improve, Gokongwei added.