MANILA – The Philippines’ largest national flag carrier, Cebu Pacific (CEB), reached a milestone on January 6 when it flew its 50 millionth passenger from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (Manila) to Beijing, China.
CEB first flew daily flights from Manila to Cebu and Iloilo utilizing four aircraft in March 1996. It began operating as a full-fledged, low-cost carrier (LCC) in 2005.
“As the first low-fare airline in Asia, Cebu Pacific considers this a major achievement. Since 1996, we have grown to become the Philippines’ number one airline, offering the most number of flights and operating the most extensive route network in the Philippines and flying to the most ASEAN destinations,” said CEB President and CEO Lance Gokongwei.
“What we achieved in 14 years, we plan to achieve by 2015. That is, we will fly 50 million more passengers in four years,” he added.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III together with CEB President and CEO Lance Gokongwei awarded the 50 millionth passenger a one-year unlimited travel pass to any of Cebu Pacific Air’s international or domestic destination.
“The launch of our Beijing flights last September strengthened our operations in Greater China, contributing to the 37% growth in CEB’s international operations in the first nine months of 2010. With the expected delivery of more brand-new aircraft, we are in a great position to expand in Asia,” Gokongwei said.
CEB recently made history when it raised PhP23.3 billion (equivalent to US$539 million) in an initial public offering, which was the largest ever initial public offering made by an LCC globally. The proceeds, among other things, are being used for aircraft acquisition.
The airline will take delivery of 5 more brand-new Airbus A320 this year. It will end 2011 with a fleet of 37 aircraft, and an additional 16 Airbus A320 aircraft will be delivered from 2012 to 2014.
“Cebu Pacific Air’s trademark low fares and innovative products, coupled with warm and genuine Filipino service, will continue to stimulate travel and tourism within the Philippines and beyond. The lowest fare from Beijing to Manila starts from RMB788,” he concluded.
CEB was the first airline to offer discounts to guests with no check-in luggage, passing on savings on fuel to its passengers. It also gained popularity world-wide when its flight attendants danced the safety demonstration to embody its culture of fun.
The Philippines’ low-fare leader, CEB, operates services to 16 international destinations, namely: Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Seoul (Incheon), Shanghai, Singapore, and Taipei. It also flies to 33 domestic destinations from its four operational hubs in Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Davao.