Cebu Pacific looks to strengthen Australian presence with new belly route

Filipino carrier Cebu Pacific said it is optimistic that the upcoming launch of its direct service between Manila and Melbourne will further boost its market share in Australia on the back of competitive offerings for cargo.

The airline is set to commence operation of its thrice-a-week Manila-Melbourne-Manila service on 14 August – utilising an Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Melbourne is the carrier’s second destination in Australia following the launch of its direct Manila-Sydney route in 2014.

In terms of air freight services, the airline said a report by the The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed cargo volume between Manila and Sydney grew by 10 per cent year-on-year to 3,427 tonnes in the first four months of 2018. Cebu Pacific said it garnered 48 per cent of the cargo market share between the two destinations.

BITRE is part of the Policy and Research Division of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. It’s mandate is to provide economic analysis, research and statistics on infrastructure, transport and regional development issues for the Australian Government.

Cebu Pacific vice president, Alex Reyes said: “The sustained growth of trade between the Philippines and Australia continues to fuel the demand for cargo space. As we enhance our freight capabilities in the Philippines while offering low-cost and efficient transport of time-sensitive goods, we hope that this would entice more exports of Filipino products into Australia.”

Cebu Pacific flies five times weekly (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) between Manila and Sydney. Direct service between Manila and Sydney, which commences on 14 August will depart every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Earlier this month, Cebu Pacific revealed its plans to fly freighters for the first time after it announced it had signed an agreement with Switzerland-based IPR Conversions Ltd to convert two of its ATR 72-500 passenger aircraft into freighters, which it will receive in the fourth quarter of 2018.