The number of Cebu Pacific Air travelers in Manila going to and from Australia continue to increase since the airline launched its Melbourne route in August 2018.
Records from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics of Australia showed that CEB alone flew a total of 18,971 passengers between Manila, Melbourne and Sydney in November last year, up by 56 percent from the same period in 2017.
It also showed that a total of 48,064 passengers travelled between Manila, Melbourne and Sydney on direct connections mounted by Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Qantas in November 2018, up by 31.3 percent year-on-year.
For this month, CEB passengers comprised 39.5 percent while PAL garnered a 38.1 percent share. Qantas, however, operates direct service only between Manila and Sydney.
BITRE 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 percent 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, CEB vice president for marketing.
CEB 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 Aug. 14, 2018, capacity between Philippines and these two cities in Australia has increased 32 percent, and passenger volume grew 31 percent.
The airline is the only low-cost carrier with direct service from Manila to Sydney and Melbourne. Fares on CEB are as much as 60 percent 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 percent year-on-year.
Data from the Department of Tourism in Manila also showed 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 by 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," said Iyog.
CEB officials expect to receive 12 brand-new aircraft this year, the bulk of which are Airbus A321NEO (New Engine Option) aircraft.
The airline earlier expressed interest in opening new destinations in Australia, India and North Asia as it receives the new aircraft.