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Cebu Pacific to launch Middle East flights

CEB will add two A330s to its fleet this year
CEB will add two A330s to its fleet this year

Cebu Pacific Air has announced that its first flights to the Middle East will commence in October, connecting Manila with Dubai.

Launching on 7 October 2013, the Philippine low-cost carrier will launch daily flights between Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Dubai International Airport, using its new wide-body Airbus A330-300 aircraft. CEB has ordered eight A330s, with the first two expected to be delivered by leasing company CIT later this year, followed by two more in 2014. The aircraft will come equipped with 400 seats in a single, all-economy class configuration, with in-flight Wi-Fi.

Flights will depart NAIA at 1640, while the return service will leave Dubai at 2310.

“Dubai is the largest long-haul market to and from the Philippines, so CEB is proud to be the only Philippine carrier to fly direct between Manila and Dubai,” said Alex Reyes, General Manager of CEB’s Long-Haul Division. “More than 70% of passengers on this route take multiple stops and connecting flights, so we definitely look forward to serving this market.”

Philippine Airlines (PAL) hasn’t flown to the Middle East since 2010, when it pulled out of the region due to financial difficulties and stiff competition from Emirates and Etihad Airways. The national carrier currently codeshares on Emirates’ direct Dubai-Manila services, but has indicated that it will resume its own Middle Eastern services in future. Last year, the Philippines and UAE signed a new air services agreement, doubling the number of flights airlines from both countries can operate between Manila and the UAE.

Dubai will be CEB’s first long-haul destination and 36th international route.