Cebu Pacific plans to increase flight frequencies between Manila and Japan amid rising tourists between the two countries.
Cebu Pacific country manager to Japan Tomohiko Matsumoto said the airline would raise flight frequencies between the Philippines and Japan, but noted the slots at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were “very tight.”
“So we are doing aircraft upgrade. The recent one is we have been operating an A320 but now we are trying to change it to A321 which is about 50 seats more,” he added
Matsumoto said Filipino visitors to Japan had been rapidly growing in the last five years.
“Every year the number of Filipino visitors are increasing by almost 70,000 to 80,000 and last year there are half a million visitors from Philippines,” he said.
Matsumoto said Japanese visitors to the Philippines were also increasing.
“It was not as rapid as Filipinos coming to Japan but the number is increasing about 40,000 to 50,000 people every year in the last three to four years,” he said.
Matsumoto estimated the number of Japanese visited the Philippines reached 600,000 last year.
“Our Philippine Tourism Department is perhaps targeting 700,000 (Japanese tourists) this year. I think it’s doable with our capacity increase and other carriers also are increasing capacity because they see the market growing and growing vice versa,” he said.
“We also like to have more Filipino tourist and business visitors coming to Japan,” Matsumoto added.
The airline has a share capacity of more than 10 percent for the Philippine-Japan market.
Cebu Pacific is also looking to expand to Sapporo and Haneda.
Cebu Pacific currently flies between Manila and Narita, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka, as well as between Cebu and Narita.