Budget airline Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) is set to become the first low-cost carrier to fly direct to Narita and Nagoya in Japan starting March 30 next year.
Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing and distribution of Cebu Pacific, said the budget airline will also begin flying to Osaka daily from December 20.
“With Cebu Pacific’s trademark lowest fares, travelers from Japan now have Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka as jump-off points when exploring the Philippines’ world-renowned beaches and diving destinations,” Iyog said.
She added the more frequent flights will help boost tourism. “With more flights to the Philippines, we believe Japan has the potential to be as big as South Korea when it comes to foreign tourist arrivals,” she said.
Daily direct flights to Narita in Tokyo and to Nagoya four times a week will be on brand new Airbus A320 planes.
The Philippines and Japan inked a new air service agreement increasing the number of flights between Manila and Narita to a total maximum of 400 per week from the previous 119.
It also allowed 14 flights per week between Manila and Haneda and unlimited air traffic rights between points in the Philippines except Manila and points in Japan except Haneda.
Safety concerns found by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2008 prompted Japan to impose restrictions on Philippine carriers.
An ICAO audit in February found the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines had addressed those safety concerns, however.
Cebu Pacific is in a middle of a $4 billion refleeting program aimed at acquiring 49 new Airbus aircraft to augment its existing fleet of 10 Airbus A319s, 27 Airbus A320s, two Airbus A330s, and eight ATR-72 500s.
The airline is scheduled to accept the delivery of 15 more brand-new Airbus A320s, 30 Airbus A321neos, and four Airbus A330 aircraft between 2013 and 2021. — JDS, GMA News