The Philippines' largest carrier, Cebu Pacific (CEB) continues to grow its presence in Australia, on the back of improved bookings following the launch of its Melbourne route in August 2018. As of November 2018, data from Australia's Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed that Cebu Pacific alone flew a total of 18,971 passengers between Manila, Melbourne and Sydney—up 56% from the same month in 2017.
A total of 48,064 passengers travelled between Manila, Melbourne and Sydney on direct connections mounted by Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Qantas in November 2018, up 31.3% year-on-year. For this month, CEB passengers comprised 39.5%; while PAL garnered a 38.1% share. Qantas, however, operates direct service only between Manila and Sydney.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics is an agency under Australia's Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Its mandate is to provide economic analysis, research and statistics on infrastructure, transport and regional development issues for the Australian Government.
"We have an average market share of about 40% for our Melbourne and Sydney routes. We are pleased with the strong reception in Melbourne for Cebu Pacific, and excited that the 'CEB Effect' of year-round low fare offerings, coupled with our promotions, provide opportunities to visit the Philippines," said Candice Iyog, Vice President for Marketing at Cebu Pacific.
Cebu Pacific flies five times weekly between Manila and Sydney; and thrice a week between Manila and Melbourne. Since the launch of CEB's Melbourne route last August 14, 2018, capacity between Philippines and these two cities in Australia has increased 32%, and passenger volume grew 31%.
Cebu Pacific is the only Low Cost Carrier with direct service from Manila to Sydney and Melbourne. Fares on CEB are as much as 60% lower than prevailing fares of other airlines flying the same route.
The BITRE report noted that the expansion of Low Cost Carriers—including Cebu Pacific, have helped ramp-up tourist arrivals into Australia. According to Tourism Australia, from January to November 2018, a total of 140,700 tourists from the Philippines visited Australia, up 11.7% year-on-year. Data from the Philippines' Department of Tourism also show that Australia is also one of the top sources of tourist arrivals in the Philippines, with close to 243,000 Australians visiting the country for the same 11-month period—up almost four percent, as the country gains popularity as a tropical getaway destination, offering more scenic attractions and better value for money than Vietnam, Thailand or Bali.
"As more brand-new aircraft enters the CEB fleet, we are now in a position to seriously study the possibility of expanding to more destinations in Australia. We are encouraged by our performance in the Australia market. Connecting key cities such as Perth or Cairns would give more Australians easier access to the Philippines and enable more Filipino-Australians to visit family more often," added Iyog.
Cebu Pacific expects to receive 12 brand-new aircraft in 2019, the bulk of which are Airbus A321NEO (New Engine Option) aircraft. CEB had earlier expressed interest in opening new destinations in Australia, India and North Asia as it receives the new aircraft.
***The BITRE report may be accessed here -- https://bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/index.aspx