LOW-COST carrier Cebu Air, Inc. said on Wednesday it is suspending three international flights serving the Middle East starting next month as heightened competition has resulted in an oversupply of seats, making the routes unsustainable.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Cebu Air said it is slated to suspend its flights to and from Riyadh, Kuwait, and Qatar in June and July.
“The entry of Cebu Pacific into these markets benefitted passengers with lower fares and more choices. Of late, other carriers have aggressively added more flights, which has resulted in substantial oversupply of seats and fares that are so low, hence making the routes unsustainable,” Vice President for Corporate Affairs JR Mantaring said.
“We have to continuously review our routes to ensure their viability. At this point, it makes more sense for us to redeploy the aircraft used for our Riyadh, Doha and Kuwait service to routes where we can further stimulate demand and sustain our low fare offers,” he added.
Cebu Air will fly the last of its four-times-a-week service from Manila-Kuwait on June 13, and its Kuwait-Manila flight on June 14.
The thrice-a-week Manila-Doha-Manila route will have its last flight on July 1, while the last Manila-Riyadh flight
departs on July 2 and the last Riyadh-Manila flight departs on July 3.
“Passengers affected by the suspension of Cebu Air service in Doha, Riyadh and Kuwait are being contacted.
Options are being provided to minimize the disruption, which include rebooking passengers on flights with other airlines or on earlier travel dates with Cebu Air, a full refund, or placing the full value of the ticket in a travel fund for future use,” it said.
Cebu Air will retain its other long-haul services to and from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Sydney, Australia “with a view to increasing frequencies to these destinations in the future.”
From January to March 2017, Cebu Pacific carried 4.8 million passengers, of which 1.3 million flew international destinations.
For the first quarter of 2017, Cebu Air’s net income fell 68.2 percent to P1.28 billion from the P4 billion recorded in the same period a year ago.
Revenues in the first quarter rose 4.7 percent to P16.9 billion, but the increase was outpaced by the growth in expenses, which was affected by the weaker peso against the US dollar this year and higher fuel prices.
The airline flies to 24 other international destinations across Asia and US, as well as to 37 domestic destinations.