PORT MORESBY - Two budget carriers, Cebu Pacific and ZestAir, have asked regulators for seat entitlements to Papua New Guinea left unused by flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), documents from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed.
"Notice is hereby given that the above-mentioned petitioners have filed with the CAB their respective petitions for designation as official Philippine carrier and allocation of entitlements to Papua New Guinea under Route I in accordance with existing confidential memorandum of understanding," the notice dated July 5 read. Cebu Pacific, operated by Cebu Air, Inc., and Zest Airways, Inc. are both asking for 540 seat entitlements each.
For this route between Manila and Port Moresby, the Philippines has a total of 600 seat entitlements per week, 300 of which have already been allocated to PAL.
The country also has 2,500 unallocated seat entitlements per week for flights between any point outside Manila to any point in Papua New Guinea.
A hearing for the two petitions has been set on July 24. Cebu Pacific almost doubled the number of its international passengers served in the first quarter to 1.097 million from a year ago.
The Gokongwei-led carrier is looking to carry 14 million passengers this year, up 16.6 per cent from 2011.
The company plans to mount long-haul flights by the third quarter of next year, to destinations in the Middle East, Australia, United States and Europe. ZestAir, for its part, said it served 68,991 passenger for January to March, up by 72.52 per cent from year-ago levels. The carrier, formerly called Asian Spirit, aims to serve 3.5 million passengers this year, a 53.17 per cent improvement.
The company will be launching its Manila-Shanghai flights on July 25 and Manila-Kuala Lumpur flight in October after launching Manila-Incheon flights last month.