Blurb: Now links Region 10 to nine domestic destinations
By Mike Baños, Editor-at-Large
The Philippines’ leading airline, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB) is launching Laguindingan Airport as its seventh regional operations hub today, October 20, 2017.
Besides Laguindingan, Cebu Pacific already operates six other regional hubs in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Clark and Iloilo.
The carrier’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Cebgo, will boost its presence in Northern Mindanao, through the Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan) Airport, with new inter-island connections to Boracay (Caticlan); and to Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, three times a week.
“To get from Mindanao to the Visayas and back, travelers now have more choices and need not pass through larger airports in Metro Manila or even Cebu,” Cebgo President and Chief Executive Officer Alexander G. Lao said in a statement.
CEB is already serving the Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan)-Manila and Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan)–Iloilo routes with its Airbus A319/A320 service.
Cebgo services most of the CEB flights out of Laguindingan with links to Zamboanga and Davao in Mindanao, and to Bacolod, Caticlan, Cebu, Dumaguete, and Tagbilaran, Bohol with its ATR 72-500 jet props.
“The capacity expansion will mean more flights and more travel options for everyJuan. We are optimistic that this will make air travel more affordable and more accessible to a greater number of travelers,” Lao added.
CEB is further expanding its domestic route network with four new routes aimed at increasing connectivity between the country’s various regions, and improving accessibility for travelers outside Metro Manila.
“Trust that we will remain devoted to exploring more routes to cater to more of our valued guests, and also to beef up economic, trade, and tourism in the destinations we operate in,” Lao noted.
Besides the new flights out of Northern Mindanao, Cebu Pacific also announced it would begin operations of a thrice-weekly Kalibo-Clark flight (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) on October 30, 2017, linking Western Visayas, including the world-class Boracay Island, to tourists from North and Central Luzon, as well as foreigners via the Clark International Airport. The return Clark-Kalibo flight begins on October 31, 2017 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).
“We are happy CEB has increased the number of its flights in response to the demand,” said Dorothy Jean B. Pabayo, chairperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Council. “I was recently on a flight from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro and the plane was also full, so it’s business as usual in Cagayan de Oro.”
Engr. Jose G. Budiongan, airport/area manager for CAAP Area X, said Laguindingan airport is now gearing for the increased passenger traffic by opening another gate in addition to the existing two. An additional passenger lounge capable of seating 100 additional departing passengers is also in the works.
Besides the additional flight on key routes, CEB has also upgraded its flights from Manila to Cauayan, Legazpi and Virac, and vice versa, with the 180-seater Airbus A320 from the former 78-seater ATR 72-600, translating to over 130% more capacity or about 102 additional seats.
The freed-up ATR aircraft from these three routes were deployed to service five new inter-island routes Cebgo recently announced, namely: Cagayan de Oro-Zamboanga; Cebu-Masbate; Davao-Dumaguete; Davao-Tacloban; and Cotabato-Zamboanga.
More flights possible
Despite the increase in air traffic brought by the new flights, there are no facility constraints at Laguindingan Airport that hinder the flow of more passenger and cargo traffic to and from the region.
Budiongan said that while Laguindingan Airport’s passenger terminal building already exceeded its design capacity of 1.6 million people annually four years ago, the airport still has available slots during other times of the day to accommodate more flights.
“Every day from 12MN to 5AM we have no flights so we can accommodate about 3 flights an hour or 15 additional daily flights for this particular period,” Budiongan noted. “We also have only one flight from 8-11AM daily and we can accommodate another 3 flights during this time.”
Even with the airport’s existing 2,100 meter long runway, Budiongan said it has already been comfortably servicing the new Airbus A321-231ceo aircraft which can accommodate 199 passengers each flight.
The even newer A321neo which Cebu Pacific will soon deploy in domestic operations can accommodate up to 240 passengers and travel up to 6,850 kms. with sharklets, greatly increasing the radius of tourist/passenger markets which can be serviced by Laguindingan Airport.
In fact, Cebu Pacific has fielded eight additional weekly flights between Manila and Cagayan de Oro since July 4th, bringing the current 55 flights per week to 63. That will translate to over 2,800 more seats for flights to and from Manila and Northern Mindanao.
Budiongan cites how the Kalibo International Airport (KIA) with basically similar runway facilities and passenger terminal building as Laguindingan, was able to become the third busiest airport in the Philippines basically servicing A320 and A321 aircraft.
“Even the Instrument Landing System (ILS) which we lobbied so hard for in the past is now only used as our back up system, since domestic airliners have already been using the newer and more efficient Performance Based Navigation (PBN) system since 2015 when Laguindingan airport was certified for Area Navigation (RNAV) systems,” Budiongan said.
Area navigation (RNAV) is a method of instrument flight rules (IFR) navigation that allows an aircraft to choose any course within a network of navigation beacons, rather than navigate directly to and from the beacons. This can conserve flight distance, reduce congestion, and allow flights into airports without beacons. Area navigation used to be called random navigation, hence the acronym RNAV
“With these present facilities servicing the same types of aircraft already deployed on present routes, we can attain a significant increase in passenger volume of up to an additional million passengers even on a 50 percent load factor if the available 18 slots for additional flights are taken up by regularly scheduled and charter flights by domestic and foreign airlines, especially from China and Russia,” he added.
The Cebu Pacific route network now has 27 international and 37 domestic destinations. Its fleet of aircraft includes three Airbus A319s, 36 Airbus A320s and eight Airbus A330s. The Cebgo fleet is composed of eight ATR 72-500s, and six ATR 72-600 aircraft.
About 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.
For bookings and inquiries, guests can visit http://www.cebupacificair.com/ or call the reservation hotlines (+632)7020-888 or (+6332)230-8888. The latest seat sales can be found on CEB’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages.
Guests may also download the Cebu Pacific official mobile app on the App Store and Google Play for easier accessibility and connectivity.