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Cebu Pacific Air opens the skies to 500,000 Filipino expats


New Dubai-Manila route sees first Philippine carrier land in Dubai after 15 years.

October 9, 2013 3:12 by

Cebu Pacific Air (CEB), the Philippines’ largest airline, has touched down in Dubai for a new non-stop service to the country’s capital, Manila.

It is the first airline from the Philippines to land in Dubai in the past 15 years.

“Our goal has always been to combine low fares with a great service,” says Alex Reyes, long-haul division’s general manager at CEB. “And by choosing Dubai as the first long-haul destination, we are serving one of the largest Filipino expat communities in the world.”

As part of the celebrations surrounding its maiden flight to Manila, CEB will award free tickets to 100 ‘lucky juans’ from the Middle East region that have been away from their families for more than one year.

CEB, which currently has the most extensive network in the country, links it with 22 international destinations in Asia. The Dubai-Manila route is a milestone for the airline, which recently boosted its fleet to 47, comprising ten Airbus A319s, 27 Airbus A320s, two Airbus A330s and eight ATR-72 500s  – making it one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world. Between 2013 and 2021, CEB will take delivery of 15 Airbus A320s, 30 Airbus A321neos and four Airbus A330s.

Official Philippine government figures reveal that 4.27 million people visited the country in 2012. CEB’s new Dubai-Manila route, which will be serviced using a 436-seat aircraft, will make the Philippines even more accessible as a tourist destination.

Having earmarked $4 billion for a major re-fleeting programme, its president and CEO Lance Gokongwei says CEB is looking to introduce long-haul routes to Europe and North America soon. Last year, Guy Ledoux, ambassador of the European Union, announced the lifting of a ban on Philippine carriers, which was imposed in 2010, allowing them to restore flight services to Europe.

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