Cebu Pacific obtains clearance to fly to India


MANILA, Philippines – According to a document from the Civil Aeronautics Board of the Philippines, Cebu Pacific Air has received government’s ok to fly to India.

This, however, does not mean that the country’s biggest budget airline can immediately mount flights to the South Asian nation, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Inquirer reports that flag carrier Philippine Airlines, which holds about six of seven entitlements, or weekly flights, to India, recently cancelled this route. What this meant was that Cebu Pacific, while designated to fly to India, would need to apply for these entitlements in a process that could take several months, a CAB official said.

Cebu Pacific filed its application to be designated as carrier to India last March 14, a published report showed.

CAB separately reported that ZestAir was granted clearance to mount flights to Dammam in Saudi Arabia, an employment magnet for Filipinos seeking work abroad.

According to Inquirer, both Cebu Pacific and ZestAir have been expanding their capabilities within the country and overseas.

Cebu Pacific, for instance, plans to acquire or lease 26 new aircraft—and retire seven operating leases—to end 2017 with 62 planes from the current 45 planes. It recently launched its maiden flight to Seoul, South Korea, and is looking at Manila-to-Singapore flights on July 8 and Manila-to-Dubai flights on Oct. 7.

ZestAir, which operates 11 aircraft, recently took in a new investor, Malaysia’s Air Asia Bhd, which now owns a 49-percent stake in the local firm. The move was seen to support the latter’s reach and capabilities within the country as well as in international routes.

ZestAir operates on 10 domestic and 10 international routes. It has hubs in Manila, Kalibo and Cebu in the central Philippines, which are major tourist destinations.

Meanwhile, flights to India would add to Cebu Pacific’s 22 international destinations. These are Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Incheon, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Phuket, Shanghai, Siem Reap, Singapore, Taipei and Xiamen.